Floating World, an installation by MFAST alum and faculty member Billy Friebele, can be seen at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia from March 6th to March 31st, 2013. The installation recreates the experience of cloud gazing inside of Artisphere and explores our relationship with the natural and virtual worlds. Bringing the outdoors inside is akin to the human desire to control nature, a task we have been trying to accomplish for centuries. A large cluster of helium balloons floats in the Town Hall atrium, tethered to a platform on the ground floor below. A drawing implement dangles over the platform connected to the balloons, slowly marking a sheet of paper. The movement of this synthetic cloud is recorded in a drawing that evolves over the course of the exhibition. Visitors are an integral part of the creation process as their presence in the space affects the outcome of the work. By moving throughout the artificial habitat created in Artisphere’s Town Hall, viewers are given the power to affect the direction of the wind. Visitor movement triggers motion sensors attached to fans that when activated, push the clouds around the space. The motion of clouds can be directly tracked as drawings on paper.
Although Friebele has staged drawing installations using various instruments in multiple locations, Floating World marks his largest drawing installation in an indoor space. On view in addition to the Floating World installation in the Town Hall will be documentation of the process by Artisphere’s Front Desk. There will be a happy hour event on Thursday, March 21st, 2013 from 7 to 10pm.