Installed along Randall’s Island Park’s southeastern shoreline, Rob Swainston’s Who Owns the Sky? takes the form of a large-scale semi-transparent billboard, hand-printed with images of clouds inspired by historic woodcuts and engravings of sky motifs. These printed cloud patterns fall in and out of sync with the city’s firmament, and the viewer can observe their constantly shifting relation to cloud patterns both alongside the frame and behind the translucent fabric. These shifts, according to the artist, evoke and recreate the human quest for direction and meaning in the heavens. Historically, without the power of flight, the results of such quests remained intangible; contests of ownership, territory, and geopolitical power played out only on the surface of the earth. Ownership of the heavens was left to the gods, as depicted in myths, described through religions, and displayed in art. However, with the advent of aerospace technology, constellations have ceded their dominion to planes, no-fly zones and drones. Globalization and global climate change further complicate this story. Who Owns the Sky? questions our attempt to assert power over a firmament in which our presence remains transient.
You Own the Sky!
Very pleased with the printing and how transparent the fabric is and can be read from both sides.
Wow, Memorial Day Weekend, very satisfying watching a little girl draging her father and running toward the piece pointing at it and saying 'Clouds'. (But I only have a memory picture of that, whoops!)
Coming back the next day to check up. Phew, the piece is still there!
The only cloud in the sky!