Clouds Panorama is a 200-foot long mosaic that depicts a day, from sunrise to sunset through a machine-learned interpretation of the Arizona sky. The work is a portrait of the town of Sahuarita, Arizona. One way to represent a community is to reflect its own sense of place and judging from its collective social media feed, a significant part of its Sahuarita’s identity is tied to the clear light and dramatic cloud formations of its desert sky.
Using machine-learning, Clouds Panorama learns from thousands of images of the sky over Sahuarita. To create the piece, a machine-learning algorithm was trained on a database of sky images collected from social media. Over time, the algorithm learns to create similar images — new images that look like photographs but are wholly synthetic images imagined by the computer.
Clouds Panorama is installed as a public art installation for the new Sahuarita Library that features a single large-scale wall-mounted mosaic wrapping the library’s collection room. The piece depicts a day, from sunrise to sunset through an image of the sky. The mosaic is made of 1” vitreous glass tiles that are robotically assembled into sheets. The sheets are installed onto 52 panels that tile together to form a continuous image. The change in light as reflected in the color of the sky and clouds as the day progresses is translated into a single blended image that moves with the visitor around the space.