John Cleater @ Venice Biennial 2011

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See Venice Biennial 2011 Index

“Sky Pavilions”

Audio by The Magic Stranger and Dewanatron

View VIDEO of Sky Pavilions

"Sky Pavilions" in the Giardini

"Sky Pavilions" in Piazza San Marco

Sky Pavilions are virtual cloudbursts filled with nonsensical and practical guidance. They may be located near cultural landmarks, empty fields, abandoned developments, or even above your home. They cause disturbances in the atmosphere and may jump out of bounds without notice. These hovering vessels are prepared to carry you as far out or as deep within as you need to be.

The Magic Stranger and Dewanatron (Brian and Leon Dewan) will be channeling practical and nonsensical guidance from the core of Cleater’s Sky Pavilions. Originally conceived of in cast iron, these elastic forms have slipped into Augmented Reality and carry with them the same highly reflective elusiveness as their physical twins.

The mothership Sky Pavilions will be Hovering over Piazza San Marco sending out messages to the gathering tourists. Meanwhile the Messenger Floaties are spinning on the grounds of the Giardini waiting for visitors to activate them so as to send secret messages up to the Motherships. What do the Sky Pavilions want? How many are there? What secret message will you send up to the Mothership? And how will your message be delivered to the tourists gathering in Piazza San Marco? The Magic Stranger and Dewanatron will oversee and filter the passage of the messages.


John Cleater is a founding member of internationally acclaimed Performance Group, The Builders Association, creating designs for many of their cross media productions. He has worked as project architect with Asymptote for clients including the New York Stock Exchange, Documenta XI, BMW Headquarters, The Guggenheim Virtual Museum, and Carlos Meile. With Hani Rashid, at the Columbia University School of Architecture, he oversaw the creation of three large-scale interactive installations in the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2000. Other recent work includes: Jury Selection for the Highline Competition in Manhattan; a proposal for a wireless network overlay for Queens Plaza, and the installation “Emergency Exit” at Artist Space in New York, as part of the critically acclaimed exhibition “Digital Mapping in Architecture”. He has also worked on projects with Daniel Libeskind, Bernard Tschumi, Vito Acconci, I.M. Pei, and others.

He holds a Masters degree from the Columbia University School of Architecture. Cleater taught a workshop titled Intersection at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) which investigated the threshold between physical and virtual space and how to create alternative ways of passing between them. Cleater also co-taught a class with Marianne Weems in the Electronic Music Center at Columbia University entitled: “Doublevision: Updating Thomas Edison Through Site-Specific Installation”. The Columbia students’ installations were publicly displayed in NYC. He redesigned Brooklyn College Gymnasium for the BCCP program by creating large cut-outs shaped from popular logos as well as designed a mobile stage/ seating.

Cleater just returned from a 2007 John Michael Kohler Arts Center residency at the Kohler Foundry where he created large Apendages out of enameled iron and chrome plated brass that will be incorporated into an unfolding, self sustainable mobile container for multiple uses. Currently Cleater is involved on the advisory commitee at the OMI International Arts Center’s newest project, Architecture OMI: Exploring the Intersection of Art and Architecture. Read an interview and with John Cleater in 2007 as part of the Presence Project.


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