Yuko Hasegawa


The 7th International Moscow Biennale

Clouds ⇄Forests

Venue : The State Tretyakov Gallery



Organization : the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation , the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan

Co-curator : Seiha Kurosawa

Artists :
Nadim Abbas,Adel Abidin,Nindityo Adipurnomo, Farah Atassi, Kanako Azuma, Matthew Barney, Natalia Bazowska, Bahar Behbahani, Björk, Hussein Chalayan, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen,Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Rohini Devasher, Louise Drulhe, Olafur Eliasson, Justine Emard & Mirai Moriyama,Cécile B. Evans, Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov, Valia Fetisov, “Forensic Architecture”,Theaster Gates, Gauri Gill, Marta Gornicka, Alina Gutkina, Joey Holder,Elliott Hundley, Pierre Huyghe, Ali Kazma, Nile Koetting, Siji Krishnan, Alexey Martins, Mathieu Merlet-Briand, Marie-Luce Nadal,Michael Najjar, Koji Nakazono, Dashi Namdakov, Uriel Orlow,Anastasia Potemkina, Laure Prouvost, Aurora Sander, Susan Schuppli, Sayaka Shimada,Wieki Somers, Yuken Teruya, Sissel Tolaas, Michael Tolmachev, Ryan Trecartin, Hanna Tuulikki, Alexander Vinogradov and Vladimir Dubossarsky,“Where Dogs Run”, Robert Zhao Renhui, Marina Zurkow

Cloud Forests is a proposition in a mood of crisis, to instigate the formation of new relationships to our world. Broadly stated, our environments ― natural, social, psychological, and informational ― are transitioning away from stability, toward collapse. In this crises of recognisable order is essential produce the means of rationally and viscerally apprehending our situation anew. Art is precisely those practices which function as enigmatic signposts, nourishing our sensory apparatus so that we may more accurately grasp our condition. Art familiarises us with the unfamiliar, individually and socially.

The paths that modernization has used to generate environments and knowledge leverage a collective ‘subjectivity’, superseding the subjectivity of the individual. Félix Guattari, for example, spoke of a triad: territorialized power, deterritorialized knowledge, and processual self-reference, with no other aim than to clarify problems. This collective subjectivity has led to the emergence of ‘tribes’, who share specific creative (including cultural climate) ‘environments’ . The terms of their coexistence is not innate value, but rather a kind of osmosis from their surroundings. Since ancient times groups (tribes) sharing common mediation functions (proxeme) were established on the basis of the shared environments: land, climate, and such corporeal conditions. If we represent them using the metaphor of a forest; a collection of trees growing in a common environment, then we might add informational clouds, a ready metaphor, to map the shared cloud tribe culture that is emerging. Each of the tribes that share ‘creative subjectivity’, possess their own strong and idiosyncratic presence. We can say that tribe A is a collective of individuals who share the environment A, in other words who can detect, as well as pathologically and emotionally engage in, environment A. Each such environment might be called a subjective sphere.

A creative tribe is a group of people with the capacity to rationally and viscerally apprehending their 'environment'. Rather than being a closed collective, their relationship is organic and open to the whole, in which simultaneously centripedal bonding and centrifugal repulsive forces coexist. The workings of proxemy are organized into a multi-centric and nebulous state. The tribe's unpredictable, fragile, emotional, and ambient subjective sphere interacts and induces the breakdown of our collapsing "environment", catalysing new possibilities for transformation. It’s not modern critique, rather, it’s a large-as-life question about, and commitment to, ways we might join each other in this collapsing world. As each subjective sphere as environment zone with corresponding tribe coexists or clashes, the entire "environmental system” functions by inhabiting the brinks between conventional structures such as society, nature, and mental environment.

Cloud Forests focuses on artists as a creative tribe which transitions, expands, and diffuses, from forest to cloud, rebuilding viewers' subjectivity and showing creativity to be a vital resource for creating new environmental spheres. Given the awareness of generating the new subjective sphere environments, the curatorial criteria for this exhibition includes giving life to new technologies, ways to obtain animistic artistic languages, and rhizomic organic natures for traversing history, genre, and medium. For instance the work of one 26 year-old artist who creates installations from ready-made items purchased at Amazon, in an unblinking observation of contemporary capitalism, industrial production, and the individual. “My algorithms are fed back to the selection of ready-mades. I am generating my environment.” This formation of a subjective sphere is rich with delicate contingent relationships. The effects of an increasingly globalised capitalist order are at the root of the recent surge in nationalist populism. In contrast, the new tribes at the heart of this exhibition are examples of quietly facing these same issues by means of generating alternative environmental spheres, compounding subjective spheres, and peaceful co-existence with others. Tribes once inhabited the forests, where rhizomatic nodal structures informed the crystallisation of life and human creativity. Just as each individual existed there, like the tree as an individual, and like a forest as a common environment, we can glimpse these artists’ brilliance both among the trees, and and as a forest collective phenomenon, which also connects to larger ecosystems, the borders of which are vague, soft, and continuous.

These tribes have left the forests and began creating new assemblies in the cloud space of the internet. In the process of the forests breathing the clouds into existence, many new media become proxemies added by the mechanisms of animism, giving life to and weaving from humanity all manner of things into new technologies: from information to bacteria. Cloud tribes don’t make actions. These new primitives seek not with objectives, or radar, but rather by watching, sensing, even dowsing for signs, waiting for magnetisms to present themselves. They are happy to change the function of the internet away from on-line environments to expand the internet’s original power to form core tribes. Their expressions include diverse periods of time, areas of "regression" in which the primitivity of “prehistoric” emoji and fireworks are used and methods of "innovation" make full use of technology and algorithmic magic.

Cloud Forests combines the horizontal scope of creative tribes who live in the grand forests of laurel trees in the Eurasian continent, and Asia, in the rainforests and conifer forests of Russia, extruding out to Europe, and up into the vertical rising vapors of the forests breathing information networks like cloud banks. Within the environmental spheres of each forest or each cloud, or within the environmental spheres where forest and cloud overlap, these tribes sense the surrounding world and express signs, indications for our path forward. Cloud tribes are not proactive. Rather than actively searching for their subjects like radar, they sense and dowse their surroundings and wait for someone to reacts as though drawn by magnetic force. Like the calming ozone emanating in the forest, like the rain in the cloud formations, the cloud tribes ambiently penetrate and transform into us around our bodies inside of us. They are not assuring palliatives, rather they imbue us with the strength to heal ourselves. In a silent way.

"Clouds ⇆ Forests" Yuko Hasegawa