How to Fall in Love with a Contrail

Louella Exton


Contrail clouds, short for ‘condensation trail clouds’, are long, thin, and sometimes wispy cloud-like formations that are formed by water vapour condensing on to the soot particles emitted by aircraft. 

‘How to Fall in Love with a Contrail’ is a guidebook outlining a set of observational techniques developed to study these anthropogenic clouds. Going beyond the exercises prescribed in citizen science programmes such as NASA’s Globe, this set of techniques explores novel ways of documenting contrails in order to capture more specific data and create a more intimate practice for the observer.

In addition to the guidebook, three diagrammatic sculptures demonstrate possible outcomes of the techniques, and how adjustments to scale and using the human body in space impact the outcome. The sculptures are testament to a dedicated and obsessive practice based on the belief that these beautiful traces in the sky require more tailored, loving, and attentive approaches to observation.


Louella Exton is a Dutch-Australian designer currently part of the TechnoGeographies Studio at the Design Academy Eindhoven. She is motivated by an interest in the material systems that connect people and landscape.


Publication printing and binding: Buch.One
Metal fabrication: Laurin Böhm and Richard Kingston