The Ethics of Dust: Doge's Palace, Venice, 2009

Installation view: La Biennale di Venezia, 2009
Photo: Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Latex and pollution
Ca. 650 x 1200 x 0.2 cm
Commissoned and produced by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary  for the 53rd International Art Exhibition Biennale di Venezia

The Ethics of Dust: Doge's Palace, Venice, 2009 – commissioned and produced by TBA21 for the 53rd International Art Exhibition / Biennale di Venezia – is an installation resulting from the experimental preservation of the pollution accumulated on the Doge's Palace of Venice. Traditionally, only the intentional products of human labor, such as art or architecture, have been considered part of our cultural heritage. Pollution is a formless byproduct that was never intentionally shaped; yet it is perhaps our civilization's most significant cultural product. Jorge Otero-Pailos' preservation of pollution expands the notion of world heritage to include our unintentional outputs.

As an architect and theorist specialized in experimental forms of preservation, Otero-Pailos   scientifically removes and preserves the dust settled on key historic buildings of the world. Latex, the cutting-edge of preservation cleaning technology, allows Otero-Pailos to isolate that microscopic layer of history. Separate, but never entirely free from the building, pollution is allowed to recast its own story. Building on the tradition of 19th century architects and conservators, who made plaster casts of the world's monuments so academics could study the architecture of distant cultures, Otero-Pailos' casts of pollution suggest a new way of looking at architecture and our history.

*1971 in Madrid, Spain I Living and working in New York, USA