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The best public art draws people in with a bit of razzle-dazzle, then invites them to meditate on something more. Cloud House, an installation by artist Matthew Mazzotta at Farmers Park in Springfield, Missouri, offers visitors a very special attraction: the miracle of rain. The "house," which looks like a country porch on a perpetually overcast day, is really a rain-harvesting system with an interactive twist.
When showers storm in, a gutter system on the gabled tin roof directs water into an underground storage tank. Reclining in the house’s rocking chairs triggers a pump that brings the water up, via pipes in the walls, into a large acrylic cloud protruding from the roof. Water then drizzles through the cloud’s perforated underside back onto the building, illustrating in an instant the complex cycle on which all human life depends. "It’s important that we understand how closely we are tied to ecological systems," says Mazzotta. "Cloud House offers a moment to sit, listen to the rain, and reflect on our fragile dance with nature."
Check out the video below to see Cloud House in action.