‘I’m Laughing at Clouds’

Client: Anglia Ruskin University
Artist: Dr Michael Pinsky
Fabricator: The Light Lab
Location and Date: Anglia Ruskin University, Young Street Buildings, Cambridge

Artist Michael Pinsky was commissioned for the new Young Street Buildings, part of the Anglia Ruskin University development programme. Michael created a unique ‘singing’ sculpture for Anglia Ruskin University’s state-of-the-art new Health building in Young Street, Cambridge designed by Richard Murphy Architects.

The sculpture I’m Laughing at Clouds features nine “tactile” columns which, when touched, detect the heartbeat of participants and convert the readings into a composition of light and sound. As visitors touch the sensors a child’s voice sings a note, at this point the heartbeat has registered the note follows the rhythm of the heartbeat. Both the illumination and the sound get progressively softer until they both drift away completely, only to be reignited when the sensor is touched again.

In keeping with the community theme, the voices were recorded by around 80 children from Brunswick Nursery, also located on the site in Cambridge. A specially commissioned performance by the Daisy Farris Dance Collective was developed for the unveiling of the piece.

Through the project, Michael Pinsky captures the essence of Anglia Ruskin, combining innovation with community spirit. The artwork interprets the function and activity of newly completed Health buildings in Young Street, which features clinical skills labs, a mock maternity ward, and operating theatre along with a Music Therapy Centre.

Dr Michael Pinsky graduated from the Royal College of Art. He has received awards from the RSA, Arts Council England, British Council, Arts and Business, the Wellcome Trust and his exhibition ‘Pontis’ was shortlisted for the prestigious Gulbenkian Museums Award.

To view the documentary film about the launch of the artwork:

Photography by Stephen Leonard