Cloudbuster Project Christoph Keller

Reinterpreted and printed for Orgonomics at Garage, 2019 Christoph Keller Photo: Bas Czerwinski

Christoph Keller first studied mathematics, physics and hydrology, before continuing his studies at the art academy in Berlin and in Cologne. The knowledge gleaned in his earlier clearly informs Keller’s practice. Keller is drawn to the fringes of science rather than its mainstream. Through his installations Keller investigates some of the utopian possibilities that have been offered by scientists whose ideas may now be seen as unorthodox or even pseudoscientific. In his ongoing Cloudbuster Project (starting in 2003), Keller constructs cloudbusters in a variety of different locations throughout the world. Alongside Orgone Accumulators the Cloudbuster is probably the most well-known invention devised by Wilhelm Reich.

What Reich termed the cloudbuster is essentially several lengthy hollow copper tubes supported by frame and pointed towards the sky. Ideally the tubes would also be attached to a source of flowing water. The principle behind the functioning of the cloudbuster is that the tubes pull the orgone (life-energy) from the sky and affect the local energy flow and, as a consequence, the weather patterns. Reich likened the function of his cloudbuster to a lightning rod working on orgone energy rather than electrical energy. On July 6th 1953 was asked to come to Maine at the request of a drought-troubled farmer whose crops were failing. Reich promised rain within 24 hours and he delivered on that promise the very next morning. The rains were covered in several newspapers.

The artwork displayed here in Garage is a publication that Keller produced in 2003. Included in this publication is documentation of reenactments of cloudbuster experiments took place on the roof of the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City and on top of the Clock Tower in lower Manhattan, New York. Also included are images of newspaper reports from 1953 that documented the heavy rains that were thought to have been generated by Reich’s use of cloudbuster technology. Since his experiment in 2003 Keller has carried out similar cloudbuster reenactments in several other locations.