On opposite sides of the screen are a plus sign and a minus sign. It’s interactive! Push the plus, and butterflies join the bunnies in their fun. Push it once more and flowers sprout out of the plastic grass. Push the minus, on the other hand, and gone goes Peter Cottontail and friends to be replaced by cockroaches (one press) and tarantulas (two presses). Upon a third press, the whole thing gets engulfed in flames.
It sounds pretty cheesy. And, well, it is pretty cheesy. But it is also surprisingly moving. The almost DIY, amateurish nature of the whole project cuts through the pomp and high production values that enshrine so much in Venice (exactly the kind of stuff that make pavilions like that of miss the mark
this year) and allows it to speak.
For artists from a country that has been the epicenter of a revolution and subsequent turmoil for the better part of five years now to reach out to the world and seemingly say, “We want peace; look at what can happen if you simply choose positive action,” is a gesture of uncommon hopefulness in the contemporary art landscape. They’re so excited to share this message that all four circle the pavilion helping visitors use their app and pass on that energy. They’ve even listed their mobile numbers and social media handles on the pavilion’s informational materials in a seeming nod to the networks that have driven social and political change in their country.