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"When it is clear, the Joburg sky moves gracefully and soundlessly through shades of all the colours you have never known, as the sun drops behind the horizon line at the end of a day. It looks idyllic. You want to touch it, hold it, never let it go, breathe in all of the magnificence. The amount of pollution, dust and chemical particles in Joburg’s air, produced by its legacy of mining, creates a colour scape of refracted light and inorganic pigments that can be considered visually beautiful." — Sumayya Vally


In the months that preceded the global spread of COVID-19, a series of airborne events transformed the atmosphere of the Indo-Pacific region; the bushfire smoke on the East coast of Australia, the tear gas used in the Santiago de Chile and Hong Kong protests, the Indian Supreme Court ruling on Delhi’s pollution failures, and activists covering iconic statues with respirators across Johannesburg and Pretoria. All these incidents map the political struggles taking place in the region’s air, triggering a proliferation of masked faces avant la lettre. The publication Folk Costumes, Indo-Pacific Air is an account of the region’s masked state. It brings together culturally and geographically diverse case studies exploring air’s effects on the body to describe the emergent wearable architectures it produces. Considered as folk costumes, these wearables are socio-technical constructions that mediate our relationship with the environment—they negotiate our daily struggles, emancipatory efforts, and emotional inner-lives. Discussing air as a political matter, the book collects contributions by scientists, writers, historians, architects, photographers, and dilettantes, encouraging readers to fly freely between visual and conceptual affinities to create a map of a region in the making.

Art Paper Editions (Ghent) 17 × 24 cm, 192 p, open spine selfcover, dustjacket ISBN 9789493146921 Edition of 700 May 2022 Avaialble here

Edited by

Urtzi Grau and Guillermo Fernández-Abascal

Contributions by

Dean Cross Hamish McIntosh Peter McNeil Hélène Frichot La Escuela Nunca y Otros Futuros Lidia Morawska Juan Elvira Matthew Connors Ricarda Bigolin Peter Irga and Fraser Torpy, Sharbendu De, Enoch Cheng Samaneh Moafi Sumayya Vally Matteo Dal Vera Achille Mbembe