As the Venice Biennale continues to generate its media buzz – and even some recurrent reflection on the usefulness of this kind of biennales – I would reiterate that what stays after any exhibition is still some book that someone will eventually be able to peruse in about 200 years from now.
In this instance, for me, that book was aptly named Emergency Exit and it seems like it will be very able to stand on its own – ever long after this year’s Venice Polish Pavilion will naturally have sunk into general oblivion, even after all the commotion it has provoked.
Emergency Exit, by Agnieszka Kurant and Aleksandra Wasilkowska, via Dezeen.
So, here is an appetizer of my own contribution to the book edited by Elias Redstone, which is now available trough Sternberg Press, featuring contributions by the likes of Hans Ulrich Obrist and Markus Miessen…
There is no heaven or hell. Instead it is said that everybody who ever lived is reborn in riverworld. This is not a complete secret. There is even a novel about it. And a couple of games. And a dire TV series.
In riverworld nobody dies. Or else, if one dies, one wakes up again in some new spot along the meandering waterway that outlines the place. Humanity re-enacted, but fit with a new radical sport.
The suicide express is used by a growing number of enthusiasts to travel randomly about this world. Suicide as one of the fine arts has swiftly expanded into an array of precise cults: the death-fighters, the cutters, the asphyxias, the drownies and so many others.
The sky-jumpers are the most spectacular of the suicide sects: they build high, intricate structures from which to soar on to the ground. Their constructions take months to achieve, but they always take exquisite form and always remain as appreciated memorials long after the petit mort of their notorious authors.
Some say it is no longer clear if the sky-jumpers do their thing for the fun of travelling, for the sake of performance, or if simply for the furtive gratification of spreading their monuments around riverworld.
© Pedro Gadanho, from “Escape, They Said“, in Emergency Exit