What can be the space to discuss The Dark Side of the Party through art installations, performances and round-tables? The dark side of the party has to do with ephemeral effects, with what is left outside the party, with the hierarchies and rejections enacted and with the sordid recognition of the space when the party is over and the lights are turned on. To build that space Sticky Airs chose a material that responded to these characteristics, which is at the same part and parcel of parties: smoke. Because smoke is ephemeral, ever-changing, pure effect. And yet, it was used not only as an effect producer, but as the only material to define and qualify the space for the Dark Side of The Party, exploring and exploiting its capacities.
So we built with water vapor, glycerines, solid carbon dioxide, hot water, high and low temperatures and ventilators to achieve the largest amount of effects possible, to define temporary areas, diffused walls, floating floors, freshness curtains or visibility barriers to host and intensify the artistic installations and performances.
The stage was covered with an immense “cosmopolitical sheet”, a folded cloth that contained the smoke and at the same tame emitted water vapor to leverage visibility and reduce temperature. It worked as a celestial dome which appeared and disappeared depending on smoke density, and whose pattern contained cosmopolitical components of the air (like pollen particles, airplanes or virus) as if it were a visualization of the atmospheres created with the smoke.
The objective of Sticky airs was to work with the politics of visibility that perform, appropriate or redistribute some of the conditions of the dark side of the party. For instance: if in traditional exhibition spaces circulation is the empty space of visibility, here it was inverted and became a thick space of uncertainty, disorientation and surprise. This sticky space also blurred conditions of representation of visitors, diluting their age, gender or ethnicity. In regards to art installations, the variability of smoke gusts helped to trace different narratives between pieces, which are also perceived differently depending on smoke density.
Sticky Airs is was an experiment that explored blurriness, change and uncertainty, conditioning our experiences, sticking to our bodies and transforming our socialising practices, and disappeared when the lights were turned off.