Author(s): Leslie Forehand
In the essay ‘Clouds’, Marcel Beyer describes an enduring year studying and elucidating the scholarly production of clouds. He proceeds to describe nephology, or the study of clouds, as a vertigo-inducing process because ‘the object under observation – be it an individual cloud photograph, be it scientific cloud observation as a whole – ceaselessly asks back: How do you observe?.’1 This paper extends the same process of observation into clouds of data, or point clouds. Point clouds are the result of advanced surveying techniques that engage laser measuring and photo-stitching, resulting in a ‘cloud’ of points. This dataset typically has an intermittent existence – its primary purpose is to be translated into polygonal mesh surfaces. This paper outlines pedagogies that ask students to observe and digest the purity of the cloud, developing digital and manual drawing techniques as a means of analysis. Two courses are presented with varying constraints and propose explorative strategies for addressing expansive digital surveys such as point clouds.
Amy Kulper, Grace La & Jeremy Ficca