The Cloud

Arkadi Zaïdes
Simge Gücük, Institut des Croisements

info production


On April 26 1986, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plants Reactor No. 4 exploded after tests were improperly carried out and the operators lost control. The meltdown of the core of the reactor triggered the instant death of the nearby workers and exposed others to lethal radiation.

Arkadi Zaides himself was born in 1979 in Belarus, back then a republic of the USSR, in the city of Gomel, which is located 140km away from Chernobyl. He was six years old when the catastrophe took place. In his body, higher-than-normal radiation levels were detected after the Chernobyl accident, which led to a series of treatments and caused a state of panic in his family.

In this new project, Zaides wishes to put the Chernobyl catastrophe into the limelight by following the movement of the radioactive cloud, its fallout, and the danger it still represents for humans. While exploring its material and immaterial consequences, he wishes to bring to the fore burning questions about the collapsing world in the anthropocene era.

In The Cloud, the concept of the cloud 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.

The information in the performance is mediated through the presence of the character of a liquidator. Chernobyl liquidators were a crew of more than 600,000 civilians and military personnel, who were called upon to deal with the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on the site of the event.

On stage, the liquidator is confronted with the materiality of nuclear waste, a core tension at work in the project; he has to deal with material that is forever active, forever undead, and forever dangerous for human beings. While his original role was to clean the fallout of burning graphite released from the reactor, the liquidator becomes trapped in a sisyphean task. He repairs what cannot be repaired, cleans and stores what cannot be cleaned and stored and is called to cover up the evidence of a crime that lies forever in plain sight. Paranoia is acting through a disembodied voice that continuously talks inside his head and leads to a constant state of disturbance. A cloud of paranoia thus becomes tangible as the liquidator loses his bearings within an infinite nebula of information.



choreography & direction Arkadi Zaides
dramaturgy Igor Dobricic
Amir Borenstein
AJC Bruxelles
technical director
Etienne Exbrayat

Simge Gücük / Institut des Croisements
executive producer
co-producers Montpellier Danse
initial research conducted within the framework of SoundImageCulture (SIC) supported by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and VAF - Vlaams Audiovisueel Fund
with the support of
The Ministry of Culture of France / Directorate General for Artistic Creation; TMU New York / Arkadi Zaides - Institut des Croisements is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication / DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes / Kunstencentrum Campo (BE)
supported by City of Ghent, Flemish Authorities and the Belgian Federal Government's Tax Shelter measure through Flanders Tax Shelter

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