Folk Costumes Indo Pacific-Air

Publication Type:
La Biennale di Venezia, the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, ‘How will we live together?’, Giardini Central Pavilion., 2021
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In the months that preceded the global spread of COVID-19, a series of airborne events transformed the atmosphere of the Indo-Pacific region; the bushfire’s smoke on the East coast of Australia, the tear gas used in the Santiago de Chile and Hong Kong protests, the Indian Supreme Court ruling on Delhi’s pollution failures, and activists covering iconic statues with respirators across Johannesburg and Pretoria. They all mapped political struggles taking place in the region’s air, triggering a proliferation of masked faces Avant la Lettre. The installation Folk Costumes, Indo-Pacific Air, constructs the prehistory of the region’s current masked state. It presents five hybrid creatures breathing the air from the end of 2019. They are both tailored masks for politicized atmospheres and proto-architectures that imagine the bodies inhabiting them; in other words, a map of the Indo-Pacific. In the room, five well-dressed friends welcome the Biennale’s visitors and illustrate how we could breathe together, how we will live together. Nevertheless, before our global pandemic, masks and respirators - the folk costumes of a region in the making - defined the Indo-Pacific imaginary.
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