Nuage Vert

Prepared By Golan Levin

Nuage Vert

HeHe (Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen) observed the gigantic smokestacks at the edge of Paris, endlessly puffing their clouds into the skies of Saint-Ouen and Ivry-sur-Seine, and worked to create a visual of the consumption and pollution through a laser-projected reminder.

Salmisaari cloud in the sunset in central Helsinki, 2008


Created by HeHe duo Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen, Nuage turns vapor emissions of a household waste incinerator or an energy plant into an amorphous projection surface. the system uses a moving laser beam to draw the outline of the cloud issuing from the plant. Developed in collaboration with experts in laser technology, computer science, electrical engineering, energy production, and air quality monitoring, the work is a physical form of info-aesthetics.

By making large-scale pollution brightly visible, the project brings critical attention to its production. 

"Waste is relegated to the outskirts of the city, along with everything that we find inconvenient, and infrastructures are kept in the shadow as much as possible,"

explains HeHe to French newspaper Liberation

"Modern incinerators are conceived so that their emissions are not visible. This leads to a form of 'deresponsibilization.' Our project attempts to make more visible the chain of waste management. If we want to change perceptions and attitudes on a daily citizen level, we need aesthetic stimuli as much as we need educational messages."

HeHe projected Nuage Vert multiple times between 2003 and 2009. For each performance, the artists made an effort to involve the immediate community affected by the industrial pollution, including plant personnel, local authorities, environmental watchdogs, residents, cultural organizations, and schools.


During the week long installation, local residents were asked to consume less, unplug their electrical appliances, and then watch the green cloud grow! 

“No other space, network, grid, community could better represent a city and it’s activity as a whole. The physical dimension of the Salmisaari site, inhabits a special position in Helsinki; physically, visually and metaphorically. The vertical vectors of the architecture connect the underworld with the sky: the underground coal storage tunnels descend to 126m below sea level (the deepest point in Helsinki) whilst it’s chimney reaches 155m into the sky with its cloud disappearing into the lower atmosphere.”


Nuage Vert project in Helsinki, February 2008

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Acknowledgements & Credits

HeHe (Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen)

Nuage Vert



Adapted from the 'NEW ART/SCIENCE AFFINITIES'. Published by the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University and the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and available at

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