The Open Cloud Project

The history of the Klangwolke began on September 18, 1979 with Anton Bruckner’s 8th Symphony resounding through the spacious riverside park adjacent to the Brucknerhaus in downtown Linz. Quite an elaborate production for that day and age featured thousands of balloons and a laser show. Bruckner’s music was heard by a live audience of 100,000; lots more were tuned in to the ORF – Austrian Broadcasting Company’s simulcast. Thousands accepted the invitation to place their radio on their windowsill to let the sound cloud waft across the whole region. The evening’s guest of honor came from the USA: a robot named SPA flown in especially for the first Ars Electronica.

Many years and a wide array of sound clouds later, the time has come for Ars Electronica itself to produce the voestalpine Klangwolke. And this is being done by having recourse to the thoroughly modern idea of the very first Klangwolke and transposing it into the era of cloud computing and the 21st century’s social media in which networking and collaboration are the design principles and communication is their foundation.

As a Cloud in the Web, the 2012 voestalpine Klangwolke is essentially the work of a collective artistic personality comprised of members of the public who have gotten actively involved both in designing and producing this extravaganza and then actually staging it on Saturday, September 1, when this cloud formation will take shape over Linz’s Donaupark.

Their creative contributions—both visual (a vast alphabet of illuminated letters) and acoustic (individually engineered soundcloudminiatures)—constitute a sound & light show that will be one of the absolute highlights of the evening. Thus, a collective Open Cloud Project consisting of the assembly and interlinkages of the Klangwolke ABC, the recording and presentation of the soundcloudminiatures, and the process of bringing other works of art to fruition has coalesced both temporally and spatially about this Cloud in the Web.