The expression 'you are on Cloud 9' has been used to imply the incredible state of happiness of new love, while also implying 'you have your head in the clouds' meaning you are living in an impossible world positivity. Here artists use their critical vision, imagination, and curiosity to strive for something unimaginable and to shed new light on past, present, and future realities related to love, politics, and society.
In establishing this pavilion, I realize that the role of the curator is to travel through the void of a black hole into the immense universe of unknown synchronicities one might find on the other side, or sides as one could speculate. Subscribing to the common metaphor established for the pavilion, Cloud 9, I have created these collections in rooms (opening on October 31st) according to the predicted outcomes one can forecast via the observation of clouds and their movements. With the help of our resident artist nephologist, Lucy Stockton-Smith, I have a collection of various cloud images at my fingertips, with what she has roughly determined as their categories from comparisons found in the vague descriptions one encounters in general research into the topic. If we have mistaken any, so be it, for mistakes are the foundation of myths that change the future; we have only to look to our past for the proof.
Cloud 9, is more than the platitude, 'you are on cloud 9,' but rather an embrace that holds itself lightly around something ephemeral, changing, loved and adored from afar, and yet, with the knowledge that whatever comes, is only predicted through it, not finalized or fixed in stone. Although even stones are forever in motion, we have only to look more closely to see their movements; perhaps this will be the next iteration, an encounter with the stone. It is from this embrace and a clear sense of metacognition, an important value for our times, that I embark on this journey through the pavilion with you and fly above through a nebulous field which flows through textures, sound, concept, and an array of senses indescribable through the lightness of words.
It is important to note that our pavilion acts within the Bangkok Biennial 2020, which still quite new, in its second volume, displays an open platform of pavilions both online and in the reality we entitle our physical world. With this in mind, I take a moment to bring some of the political atmosphere around it to the foreground, although just briefly and without stepping too far into the sky as we have many clouds to embrace and they form a protective cushion around the pain of our planet both in its generalities and specificities.
In many places across our planet, there are protests and civil unrest, a pandemic that threatens every day to wield its invisible weapon in the most remote and populated areas, and our Earth burns and floods in alternating waves.
In Thailand, recently, uprisings have occurred and we can only hope for an outcome that brings to light the best for those who suffer and that one may find unity and understanding rather than strife, pain, and conflict. We have Thailand in our hearts and hope for the best for everyone there.
In the country of my birth, the United States, the elections and the pandemic are deeply interrelated and the divisiveness of the past four years continues as voters try their best to make sure their votes arrive on time via a postal system that has been undermined through attempts at defunding and misinformation. At the time of the official opening of the pavilion, election day will be just four days away.
In my beloved Algeria, both young and old live in the confusion and aftermath, which one can partially attribute to post-colonialism, intolerance, and misunderstanding, a country with a massive portion of the population from 16-35 years old, there is sure to be a new generation of solutions, achievements, and harmonizing factors in the next ten years. The sense of solidarity between the general populace has always made me feel that it is a home for me, which I hope to someday return to.
In France, Ireland, and the UK, stricter lockdowns are once again renewed along with limited range of movement.
From Ukraine, our artists are blocked from seeing the website not from their own government but from the main platform that I have used to develop the website, Weebly. Although I have spoken to the company, they say there is nothing we can do about it at the moment, because Ukraine has been listed as a threat to security.
These are but a few tiny news flashes and do not include all of the countries to which our artists are living in or are native to.
We represent a range of climates, seasons, patterns of unrest and tranquility across the Earth, our beloved Earth. My vision with this pavilion, my hope, is to move with it as a cloud, a certain meliorism, a dignified and stoic certitude of a re-envisioned world through compassion, abstraction, and connectedness, as sensed through underlying forces, which we may only feel vaguely, but we know with a certainty that artists are prone to share and embrace. Our clouds form a part of the atmosphere, the overarching protective field around this world that is ever-changing, marvellous and terrifying, at once, and in alternating patterns. We are here for but a brief moment, but our ideas and our creations may live far beyond our times, so we have prepared them for this purpose with both a regard to where we have been and to where we may arrive if we continue to enfold metacognition and purpose into the fabric of our being.
Photographs of clouds by Lucy Stockton-Smith
Click on the images to visit each exhibition room