On the direction of the wind


feather installation,
dimensiones variables
Courtesy of the artist





The symbolism of wind covers an amalgam of experiences, events and beliefs. It can almost describe anything: from ways of thinking and acting to feelings and politics. The wind can be soft and tender: gently blowing on her skin, it reminded her the pleasurable feeling of not knowing where she was going. The wind can be too big to handle, yet to powerful to escape. You are like the wind, she was told. Strong and free. You can’t cage the wind, can you? Winds are blowing when we least expect them, but they can bring you to a more interesting place than you could have planned. The wind was like a breath from another world. She felt it sweep along her skin. When she woke up the image in her dream vanished like the smoke before the wind. She was tired of speaking, everything she was saying was blown away by the wind the moment she uttered a word. The words were falling onto each other on the page, crossing each other, blending, merging together as if the writer didn’t have any plan in his mind in the act of writing, as if the words were carried on by the wind. On which direction was the wind going?

Placed high up on white plinths, 15 vanes compose Manuela Ribadeneira’s installation On the direction of the wind. The traditional ornament of weather vanes most commonly designed in the shape of a rooster, is replaced by white feathers. Ribadeneira undermines the patriarchal design of the weather vane with the seemingly fragile constitution of the feather. Minimalist and formal, the installation strikes the right balance between political and poetic. The rich symbolism of wind and its political connotations are distilled into the concentrated language of poetry. Distributed in the space like words on a page, the vanes perform an elegant choreography of gestures and movements. The feathers are light and sensual, yet caught into the metal structure they give the appearance of solidity and stillness. Rather than going with the flow, they seem to oppose the flow in an act of collective resistance. Do they perhaps feel and react to your presence in the space? Do the feathers move with you or you move according to them? Their indications are confusing, each feather seems to point to a different direction cancelling sequentially each other’s signal. You feel trapped into a conglomerate of dissonant voices and instructions. What seems confusing, might also be liberating. With no clear indication ahead, you have the freedom to choose your way. But what if the existing possibilities are all the same and the wind brings you eventually to the same point? The choice in this case is illusionary and makes you indifferent to which direction is the wind blowing…