Dancing in the Clouds
An installation by Barbara Streiff, 2005 – 2006 at the International Exhibition in the Blacklight Gallery, Potsdamerplatz 1, Berlin, in the U3 Bahnhof & Tunnel - next to the former Nazi headquarters and remains of the Berlin wall.
Here in the historic city of Berlin, where the terrible events of World War II were planned and carried out, a universal cloud, full of light, has been painted on an underground ceiling. Everyone is invited to swing with their own story under the cloud in awareness of the past events.
The painting of the cloud on the ceiling is supplemented by a communicative installation. A long white cloth hangs from the ceiling creating swings, where every man, woman and child visiting the exhibition is free to sit and swing in the clouds with their own personal story and experience inner relaxation and new perceptions.
Since my childhood, I have observed symbols found in nature. (See www.alpswissart.ch – biographical workbook: Aion, the primordial nature symbols.) I often looked at the clouds in order to read their stories – whether it be my own projected soul pictures or a means to give form to my intuition. Before I had to make important decisions, I sat in a forest clearing in order to find the answer to my many questions in the clouds. While watching the movement and play of clouds over a longer time, I could see entire stories. Often these involved figures from ancient worlds who talked to me. As a child, I spent much of my time alone meditating for hours in an old vineyard or in the forest. One of my practices was to sit still for so long that I became one with nature – until the little birds ate seeds out of my hand. It was in this state of wholeness that I could then read the clouds.
In my encounters with other cultures, a fortune-teller from India once told me that all his knowledge found in the Book of Universal Knowledge - which tells the story of humanity - can be read in the clouds.
The Druids went to springs in secret hallowed places and foretold future events by reading the visions that appeared in reflections on the surface of the water. Later it was the Celts who, during the preparation of special smoking herbs, chose a person to foretell the future by reading reflections of the clouds on the water held in silver bowls.
The clouds have many faces and there are new stories each day. Every person who is not confined to a room is free to watch and read the clouds. They are a culture and religion-bridging phenomenon that all people in the world perceive. Everyone can put aside their daily life and dip into the universal knowledge in order to sense the meaning of life and be free for a moment. In a playful way, I am trying to impart that knowledge to the people and, by means of the activity involved in the installation, give them a chance to experience their own state of being while swinging and dancing in the clouds.
The installation consists of a cloud, approx. 7x7 m painted on the ceiling using white, red, yellow and blue luminescent paint. White cloth (50 m), suspended from the ceiling on hooks, is hung to float freely and forms three swings, each wide enough for two people.