BAT CLOUD is a project that aims to bring awareness and greater public visibility to bats as a critical part of our ecosystem. Bats serve as pollinators and ‘natural’ pesticides, assisting in the control of mosquito and other insect populations. Yet despite their ecological significance, bats are often overlooked or seen as pests in urban environments and subsequently exterminated. Further, since 2006, bats in the northeastern part of the United States have been dying in great numbers due to White Nose Syndrome.
BAT CLOUD is an installation that aims to combat the aesthetics of disappearance and indifference. As such, its disposition is that of an urban ‘spectacle,’ tapping into strategies of publicity. The project is comprised of a hanging canopy of vessels, which from afar appears like a large shimmering cloud, hovering in the trees. Closer up, viewers from below would be able to see plants hanging from each vessel. At dusk, onlookers would hopefully be able to catch sight of bats or other wildlife emerging from the habitation vessels.
Each vessel is formed in a way to allow bats to enter and inhabit its uppermost portion. The lower volume of each vessel is filled with soil and native plants. The vessels are also designed so that bat guano would collect in the soil-filled planting area, thus fertilizing the vegetation. The lowermost portion of each vessel is constructed in a way to allow for slow water drainage.
BAT CLOUD is installed in the Tifft Nature Preserve, a park-like wooded setting developed on a former landfill in the industrial zone of Buffalo, New York, USA.
Recently, I was selected to build and install a second iteration of BAT CLOUD in Rotterdam, Netherlands, as part of the 2014 International Architecture Biennale of Rotterdam (IABR 2014: http://iabr.nl/en), the theme of which is "Urban by Nature."
After the exhibition in Rotterdam, my intention is to donate the BAT CLOUD project to an interested community in need.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (September 2013)