Nuvem Negra

Black Cloud (2015) was an installation created for the “Clouded Lands” exhibition by Food of War, an artist collective that looks at the relationship between armed conflicts and the nutrition of the populations involved in them. First shown at the JustMad art fair in Madrid, Spain; then in 2016 at the Mystetskyi National Art Museum in Kiev, Ukraine; later in 2016 for the Permanent International Peace Office in Berlin, Germany; and in 2017 at the Contemporary Art Centre in Burgos, Spain, Black Cloud took inspiration from “Voices from Chernobyl: A Chronicle of the Future” by 2015 Literature Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Aleksiévitch, who proposed a new look at the events that took place on April 26, 1986. An explosion followed by fire at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine –then part of the now extinct Soviet Union–, caused a catastrophe with no precedents in the nuclear age. Huge amounts of radioactive particles were released into the atmosphere over the USSR and much of Eastern Europe. Serious as the event itself was, it was made worse by Soviet rulers and decision-makers who covered up the truth, thereby exposing workers, scientists and soldiers to death during repair work at the plant. “Black Cloud” is a commentary on the radioactive cloud that subsequently spread mainly over Belarus. The government used cloud seeding to stop radioactive particles reaching urban areas via clouds, but in doing so it sacrificed about 10,000 km² of the Belarus countryside to radioactivity. In the decades following the accident, the region’s inhabitants still could not tell which foods were contaminated with radiation and which were safe. Simone’s installation was a black cloud in the shape of an atomic mushroom, partially made of black-dyed cotton candy from which visitors could pick up bits to eat. The tension between the cloud’s terrifying aspect and its sweet taste was a metaphor of the Belarusian people’s insecurities about their food.