Farewell to Thee is a site-specific installation by internationally acclaimed Nottingham-based artist Bill Balaskas.
In this new work, Balaskas is inspired by the USA-North Korea nuclear crisis and, more specifically, by a ballistic missile alert that was issued in the State of Hawaii on 13 January 2018. The threat was communicated to Hawaiians through mobile phone messages and necessitated taking immediate shelter in order to try to survive the imminent nuclear catastrophe. Thirty-eight minutes later, another notification on their phones and on electronic sign boards informed Hawaiians that the message that they had received earlier was a false alarm.
Balaskas is using this incident as a point of departure in order to reflect on the relationship between new media, spectacle and contemporary politics. Combining a variety of visual references, the artist highlights the absurdity of today’s world, in which the prospect of nuclear war has emphatically returned to people’s everyday lives. Farewell to Thee constitutes a poignant reflection on the grave contradictions of this world, in which information and knowledge are supposedly more widely available than ever, yet old “irrational” threats not only persist, but grow stronger.
Bill Balaskas is an artist, theorist and educator working across different media and dissemination platforms. His works have been widely exhibited internationally, in galleries, museums and film festivals. In 2018, he was invited to represent Greece in Italy’s permanent World War I centenary exhibition, while in 2012 he represented the United Kingdom in the London Cultural Olympiad and in Maribor, the European Capital of Culture. Recent exhibitions include MACBA, Barcelona; BOZAR, Brussels; EMST National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; CA2M, Madrid; Transmediale, Berlin; Le CENTQUATRE, Paris; John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; ARTIUM, Vitoria-Gasteiz; Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens; TENT, Rotterdam; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York; Thessaloniki Biennale; Musée des Abattoirs, Toulouse; and the British Film Institute, London. www.billbalaskas.com.
* “Farewell to Thee” (“Aloha ʻOe”) is the most famous Hawaiian song, and a global cultural symbol of leisure.
Realised with the kind support of Nottingham Trent University.