On April 26 1986, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plants Reactor No. 4 exploded after tests were improperly carried out and the operators lost control. The burning graphite cloud initially travelled in a northwest direction toward Sweden, Finland, and Eastern Europe, exposing the public to levels up to one hundred times the normal background radiation. In Arkadi Zaides’ hometown Gomel, a city in Belarus located 140km away from Chernobyl, life continues despite the radioactive threat. The accident would only be announced tersely two days later on Soviet TV and it was not until Sweden found out about the presence of a radioactive cloud drifting across Europe that the world came to grasp the full extent of the Chernobyl explosion.
In this performance, Zaides wishes to put the Chernobyl catastrophe into the limelight. The concept of the cloud is evoked in it through several material and conceptual references. It is evoked through the investigation and observation of the actual movement performed by the cloud of radioactive waste following the Chernobyl catastrophe. It is also approached as a web of different pieces of information and misinformations, a cloud of data that leads collective consciousness towards a state of paranoia and panic, that evokes doomsday narratives and touches upon the most primary fears of humanity's extinction. Finally, it is envisioned as a "hyperobject", which Timothy Morton defines as an element that is "massively distributed in time and space relative to humans” leading humanity to a total ecological collapse.