Inhale, in hell there’s heaven

Why do the most profound human moments always shine in darkness? “Inhale, in hell there’s heaven” is a social sculpture that honors consistent collective desires for freedom by invoking the power of celebration. Through the lens of Palestine, this work studies the vibrational waves that are provoked by sticky events. In other words, an intense atmospheric shift in which the object of a political event is so binding that it provokes a unanimous adherence or assemblance amongst the masses.

The installation itself is assembled and lifted only through community participation. A silk structure rises and falls with the temporary support of helium balloons. This ebb and flow of assemblage references the emotional waves of uprisings and assemblies that are contingent to political events. How do the consistent emotional infrastructures of feeling and believing support celebratory powers that persist before and after the demonstration, the party, or the funeral take place?  “Inhale, in hell there’s heaven” is a lyric from Frank Ocean’s song “Solo” which appears on his 2016 album “Blond”. The performance is accompanied by a 4 channel sound collage of songs and sounds that carry secret messages and vibrations to participants. The elements of taking physical space and projecting sound channels the unapologetic aspect of celebration that refuses to be invisible. By occupying space with honor we resist the position of the guest and reverse to the role of host.

The red, white, green, and black balloons reference a video captured by Muna El-Kurd in the streets of Sheikh Jarrah during the uprising of 2021. In the vidoes joyful singing and dancing was met with armed Israeli forces on horses. They assaulted and arrested primarily female attendees and effectively interrupted the joyful, celebratory atmosphere. However, a flamboyant celebratory symbol remained. A decorative bouquet of balloons in the colours of the Palestinian flag stayed tangled in the electric wires above, despite forceful attempts to yank them down. In a comedic spectacle, six fully armed individuals plus a ladder worked to accomplish the task of arresting the balloons with the same importance that might be used to detonate a bomb. In a symbolic bubble-bursting, they publicly popped each balloon.

PA system , balloons, string, silk painted fabric, helium