Cloud Cult’s “Live Like You Mean It” Exhibit

Cloud Cult’s “Live Like You Mean It” Exhibit

In conjunction with Cloud Cult’s performances with the Minnesota Orchestra on April 7 and 8, Cloud Cult has created an interactive “Live Like You Mean It” art exhibit in Orchestra Hall’s lobby, free and open to the public on April 7 and 8.

This project, which is focused on the same topics as the April 7 and 8 concerts, was designed and created by Cloud Cult with support from the Minnesota Orchestra’s OH+ (Orchestra Hall Plus) program. The exhibit is intended to be experienced in sequence, starting with “The Walk of Ancestors” and ending with “The Wall of Joy.” The film installation “8 Minutes of Afterlife” overarches the exhibit.

8 Minutes of Afterlife (Near-Death Experience Film Installation)

The dictionary defines near-death experience as: “An unusual experience taking place during the process of death and recounted by a person after recovery, typically an experience that is described as ‘out-of-body.’”

On the main film screen you will see four individuals with different life backgrounds and from different parts of the world simultaneously sharing their near-death experiences. We chose these individuals from the archives of interviews of dozens of near-death experiences from around the world and compiled them together into this short film. The purpose is not only to contrast and compare their experiences, but also to highlight individuals who had not previously held a belief system that included any kind of afterlife. Although the details of each experience may vary, similar elements have been found to exist in nearly all near-death experiences, and in the individuals’ worldviews after recovery. Specifically, the most common ingredients in the actual experience include:

  1. A feeling of interconnectedness
  2. Unconditional love
  3. Timelessness

The most common changes to a person’s approach to life upon recovery are:

  1. An increased desire to live selflessly
  2. Gratitude
  3. Presence

Research of near-death experiences shows that even though there are differences in what is witnessed at the time of the experience, or what happens upon being “brought back,” that essentially the core foundations of the human experience of death are not that dissimilar. Even more so, there are many commonalities that seem connected, indicating that we may be more similar than we are different, even at the time of death.

The Walk of Ancestors

The “Walk of Ancestors” begins 100,000 generations ago when we were walking on two legs, and our brain size had grown substantially, allowing us to perceive the world in a whole new way. As you walk forward in this art installation, 40,000 years passes with every foot. But thousands of other lifeforms had already been evolving on the planet for nearly 3.8 billion years prior to the arrival of what we recognize as the first people. On this scale, if you would have started this 50 foot walk when all of life began, it would have been nearly 18 miles away. The end of this timeline is Modern Day, with the average lifespan representing about the width of a single hair.

The Wind Telephone

In Otsuchi, Japan, there is an art installation of a phone booth on a hill overlooking an area which was devastated by the tsunami of 2011 and the Great Japan Earthquake. The art piece was originally created by Itaru Sasaki to serve as a sort of memorial and communal space for families to connect with their ancestors and lost loved ones. The phone is meant to be a form of one-way communication. Visitors dial in their relative’s number and catch them up on their current life or express the feelings of missing them, loving them and wishing them well. Many find comfort in the hope that their loved one might hear them. This video is a collection of excerpts from an NHK World TV documentary titled The Phone of the Wind: Whispers to Lost Families and is meant, in part, to serve as an opening to the following installation.

Send a Message to Eternity

Inspired by Sasaki’s Wind Telephone installation, we’ve expanded on the idea to create a working sound booth in which you can speak into a phone we have specially designed to broadcast your personal message into outer space at the speed of light. Due to the vacuum of space, your transmission will continue to travel further and further out into the cosmos indefinitely. (NOTE: THIS BOOTH IS PRIVATE AND IS NOT MONITORED—your messages are between you and the Great Unknown). The phone is wired so that whatever a person wants to say, whether that message be to a deceased loved one or to any potential life out there, gets uplinked to an offsite 20-foot parabolic reflector that transmits a low-frequency electromagnetic wave into space at very high power (500-plus watt block up-converters).

Your message will travel at the speed of light which is 186,000 miles per second, or 5.8 trillion miles per year. Your message will take one second to get to the moon. In 8 minutes and 20 seconds, the transmission will reach the sun. It’ll take just a little over a day for your message to pass all of the planets and leave the solar system, and in 4 years it’ll reach the nearest star system Alpha Centauri. The electromagnetic wave will travel through the Milky Way Galaxy and into the distant heavens forever.

The Wall of Joy

The “Live Like You Mean It” exhibit concludes with an opportunity to share with your fellow concert-goers what matters most to you. Take a minute to think about what brings you true joy, or share something you’d like to accomplish yet in this life, be it specific goals of self-betterment, or some kind of experience you want to have in this life. We hope in doing so, that you are compelled to embrace the things you truly prioritize most from this life, and work towards giving them the attention they deserve. The goal is also to have a full wall of these wishes so we all can be inspired by seeing the priorities of our fellow human beings. As an end of the night snapshot of the evening, this wall highlights the best parts of humanity. Cloud Cult will save and compile these notes while the band brings this exhibit and concert to other orchestras around the nation.

Courage: A New Research Project

In addition to the exhibit, please also consider taking part in a new research project led by Professor Grace Yukich, a cultural sociologist who teaches at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Professor Yukich asks: What are you afraid of? What makes you feel courageous? “Courage in Uncertain Times” is a new research project exploring how people define fear and courage, and what inspires fear and courage in people’s lives. The project is looking for Cloud Cult fans to share their stories and reflections about fear and courage. Stop by Professor Yukich’s table in the lobby to learn more about the project, sign up for an interview, or participate in a short survey. You can also share your story by reaching out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you or someone you know is going through a hard time, call the Crisis Hotline at 775-784-8090. The hotline is free and its representatives are there to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Cloud Cult thanks the Minnesota Orchestra for making this show happen!

Minnesota Orchestra Staff