bat cloud by ants of the prairie
bat cloud by ants of the prairie bat cloud by ants of the prairie
sep 04, 2012

bat cloud by ants of the prairie

‘bat cloud’ by ants of the prairie installed at tifft nature preserve, buffalo, new york at the buffalo museum of science all images by sze wan li

as part of her ants of the prairie initiative, joyce hwang – a university of buffalo architecture professor – has conceived a form of eco-sculpture – a collection of nests to assist bat habitation entitled ‘bat cloud’. the work – from a distance – appears as if it is a nebulous of lairs, suspended from the trees however on closer inspection from each element vegetation spills out so when dusk falls spectators are able to catch sight of the wildlife surfacing from the pods. the installation aims to draw attention to an overlooked mammal through the medium of art, an animal that is disappearing in record numbers. each vessel is its own mini ecosystem made up of steel mesh, insulation, plastic and aluminum, the top part of the component is the roosting space and the lower area is filled with soil and foliage which are fertilized by the bat guano and lure insects for the animals to eat.

the design is showing as part of the US pavilion at the 2012 venice architecture biennale. see designboom’s coverage of the exhibition here.

hwang says of work:

‘so, I think it’s about time we start looking at bats in a different way, bats are animals that are very critical to our ecosystem. they serve as natural pesticides and pollinators. I don’t know how many people are aware that bats eat loads of mosquitoes, so just for the sake of human comfort they’re quite important.

we liked the idea of trying to produce this cloudlike formation. some of the early renderings, you have this thing that looks like this amorphous blob hanging in the woods, so we wanted that sort of effect where you would see it from far away and say, ‘what the heck is that thing?”


worm’s-eye view of the ‘bat cloud’

the collection of nests has been built to assist bat habitation

general installation view of the ‘bat cloud’

installing the ‘bat cloud’

each vessel is constructed from a steel mesh

installation of the ‘bat cloud’

constructing each of the vessels

production of the ‘bat cloud’ components

  • SUNY mediocrity never fails to be more than, well, mediocre.

    Ivy says:
  • Internet trolls never fail to be more than, well, trolls.

    Bryan says:
  • functional yet ugly – how amazing!

    jmdurette says:
  • very curious to know if you have had any studies on whether bats are actually using these “Clouds”

    Darla Halpin says:

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