Folk Costumes for Indo-Pacific Air

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.

Curated by  Urtzi Grau and Guillermo Fernández-Abascal, Folk Costumes for Indo-Pacific Air constructs the prehistory of the region’s contemporary masked state. The installation reproduces five atmospheric conditions of the end of 2019 and collects the architectures for the body they produced, providing visitors with an insight to the region’s highly politicised air. The resulting map of the Indo-Pacific is an installation of five enclosed, sealed environments, each an example of the air shared by people in the region.

Exhibited as part of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, Folk Costumes for Indo-Pacific Air addresses Hashim Sarkis’ theme ‘How Will We Live Together?’ through illustrating how, before the global pandemic, masks and respirators defined the Indo-Pacific imaginary as the future folk costumes of a region in the making.


Supported by the Alastair Swayn Foundation, University of Technology Sydney and Acción Cultural Española


Photo by Hamish McIntosh



The Alastair Swayn Foundation respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians on the land of which we work, the Ngunnawal people of the ACT. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.

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