For years mixologists have tried to incorporate the concept of cloud formations into their cocktails, but with varying results. For her latest project, Japanese artist Aki Inomata has taken the idea one step further, using 3D printing technology to “print” liquid clouds into water, all with a poetic twist.
“Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky” is an ongoing project by artist Aki Inomata that was originally conceived during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. “People spent more time at home without face-to-face interaction and began to look up at the sky,” says Inomata, recalling the early days in the pandemic and her own experiences, which led to the conceptualization of the project.
For the artist, prior to the pandemic, days tended to bleed together. But spending more time looking at the sky reinforced the notion that no two days were alike.
The artwork “Thinking of the Yesterday’s Sky” captures the patterns of the sky from the previous day and, as if plucked from the sky, renders them in a glass of water using 3D printing. The appearance of the glass is then recorded daily. The clouds themselves are “printed” using milk so the drink itself can even be consumed.
The process of 3D printing a liquid into a liquid was challenging and the artist spent 2 years experimenting with the help of technologists from Japan’s DHU Graduate School.
The project is ongoing, and is, in many ways, an extension of the artist’s own practice of merging technology with nature. In the past, Inomata has presented wooden sculptures made by beavers and replicated by robot, as well as 3D-printed architectural shells for hermit crabs.