BA Theme in Artistic Strategies

David Ross
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2024S, Projektarbeit (PA), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04933


Among Clouds

Floating between weather and wonder, this intensive  week long course looks at the idea of the cloud as it has gathered in the minds of visual and spatial practitioners, visionaries, critical thinkers, engineers, scientists, and poets over the ages.

From the Greek playwright Aristophanes, to 18th-century balloon explorations, to the iCloud, humans have put themselves and proxy selves into and amongst the clouds. And while we have been joining clouds, they have also been joining us: transforming from ancient myths, drifting down from cathedral ceilings, hovering on walls within landscape paintings, gradually appearing in the photographic image, and dissipating into social networks. Presently, the three intermingling clouds of war, computing, and weather are bearing down upon us, and we would do well to understand their properties by looking up to the sky and down at our devices to understand their impact.

The course first provides a meteorological overview of actual clouds – how they have been observed, named, and classified. In learning the basics of cloud identification, students will transpose this practical knowledge into a more comprehensive understanding of symbology and metaphor. In short, we will undertake to answer the question: what cultural, technological and social meanings have been assigned to clouds, and by whom?

Among Clouds is designed to integrate with students’ own interests and pursuits, crossing multiple fields of inquiry, from various forms of artistic production to historical and technological investigations.

This course  integrates in-class lectures with various field trips including visits to cloud related art museum collections and sites of cloud observation and analysis. As these trips are confirmed, more information will be added. 


Examination Modalities

Please note;
Registration in this course is strictly limited to 14 people.

Evaluation for this course is based on class participation. Attendence to 80% of classes is required.


The week long time frame of this coure permits a concentrated, in-depth workshop experience for students. A significant portion of the course is  comprised of off site, class visits to significant sites which pertain directly to the course content. Specifically, visits are planned to:
Sonnblick Observatory, a meteorolgoical observatory and a high altitude (3.106 m) research station in the Austian alps. This trip includes two nights in a nearby mountain-top hostel and a guided tour of research facility by resident climate scientists. 

Kunsthistorisches Museum : cloud spotting in the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Visit to a cloud based data center.

Please note that with travel time to these sites this course will consume longer amounts of time than are typically allotted for a standard class in a given week. 


Key Words

clouds, climate, weather, data centers, IA, Cloud Atlas, Enlightenment, history of science, balloons, physics, architecture, photography, drawing, painting, film


22 April 2024, 10:00–12:00, "Introduction to the cloud: Identification, classification"
22 April 2024, 13:00–16:00 The Construction of Clouds
23 April 2024, 09:50–12:00 Inside the Cloud: field trip to Digital Realty Austria (Ruthnergasse 1b 1210 Wien) , "Tour of a secure facility which provides digital cloud services. You passport or drivers licence is required for entry"
23 April 2024, 13:00–16:00 Cloud spotting in the Kunsthistorisches Museum
25 April 2024, 11:00–19:00 Start of trip to Sonnblick (exact time tbc)
26 April 2024, 10:00–17:00 Tour of research center at Sonnblick
27 April 2024, 09:00–12:00, "Return to Vienna"

Course Enrolment

From 05 February 2024, 00:00
Via online registration

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Artistic Strategies and Approaches to Art: Deepening and Application 700/001.20

Co-registration: not possible

Attending individual courses: not possible