Ho Tzu Nyen
The Cloud of Unknowing
The Cloud of Unknowing (2011) is titled after a 14th-century medieval treatise on faith, in which “the cloud of unknowing” that stands between the aspirant and God can only be evoked by the senses, rather than the rational mind. In the video, eight protagonists act out their daily lives. The setting is a soon-to-be-demolished public housing facility in Singapore, a country in transition from a mindset of Eastern collectivism to global neoliberalism. These individuals have lived hermetically and absurdly in their apartment space until this moment, when a magical and mysterious cloud appears, connecting their seemingly disjointed lives. It is a story about the tension between solitude and togetherness, privacy and communal experiences. The symbolic cloud embodies both divine illumination and hallucination.