HeHe / Helen Evans & Heiko Hansen (FR) Nuage Vert Ivry

documentation, 2010

In the past decade, new buzz words have entered into media discourse and everyday language: ecological visualisations, carbon offsets, eco footprints, food miles etc. These abstractions signify our attempts to quantify individual responsibility and to find ways of facing up to the very real challenges of climate change, and the exploitation of finite natural resources.

Nuage Vert is based on the idea that public forms can embody an ecological project, materialising environmental issues so that they become a subject within our collective daily lives. Its material, collective and aesthetic dimension distinguishes it from other approaches.

A city scale light installation onto the ultimate icon of industrial pollution, alerts the public, generates discussion and can persuade people to change patterns of consumption.

Nuage Vert is ambiguous, as it doesn’t offer a simple moralistic message, but rather tries to confront the city dweller with an evocative and aesthetic spectacle, which is open to interpretation and challenges ordinary perception. Turning a factory emission cloud green, inevitably, leads to questions being asked. It shifts the discourse about climate change and carbon emissions from abstract immaterial models based on the individual, to the tangible reality of urban life. The project was situated in the cultural context and specific locality of Ruoholahti, a former industrial harbour redeveloped as modern residential district of Helsinki, Finland, where there is ever-increasing energy consumption.

HeHe / Helen Evans & Heiko Hansen (FR)

Founded in Paris by Helen Evans (UK, 1972) and Heiko Hansen (DE, 1970), both graduates of the Royal College of Art in computer related design, HeHe is an artists’ collective whose works aims to rethink the existing technological systems that surround us, namely transport, public advertising and pollution monitoring, to give them a new socialand critical usage. For HeHe, the city is an endless source of possibilities, not only to build the new but also to exercise critique, to reprogram its buildings and infrastructures, to make the invisible visible and to create new meanings that weave stories for its inhabitants. HeHe has been commissioned to make site-specific works for the Centre Pompidou (Air de Paris, 2007), Luxembourg European Capital of Culture (Transient City, 2007), V2 Rotterdam (2005). Their videoToy Emissions (2007), which documents a performance in the streets of New York City was included in the Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009) and was shown in Norwich last January at the Invisible Dust exhibition at the Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Art. Their project Nuage Vert (Helsinki 2008), was critically acclaimed internationally and awarded three prizes: the Golden Nica in Hybrid Art at Ars Electronica (Austria 2008), the Green Prix at Zero One San José (USA 2008), and the Certificate of Honour from the Foundation for Environmental Art (Finland 2009).