A conversation with the Argentinian artist seeking carbon-neutral methods to reach outer space
Visionary Argentine architect and artist Tomás Saraceno’s interdisciplinary work coalesces artistic practice with architectural feats to investigate alternative, sustainable means of inhabiting the environment. Inextricably bound, the synergy between art and architecture breaths in his spatial arrangements. Saraceno holds an architecture degree at Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires and a postgraduate degree in Art and Architecture Drom Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de la Nación Ernesto de la Carcova and Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main. The accomplished artist also studied at the International Space Studies Program at NASA Ames in 2009, the same year his work Galaxy Forming along Filaments, like Droplets along the Stands of a Spider’s Web was exhibited at the entrance of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, at the 53rd Biennale di Venezia. Saraceno’s architectural feats have been showcased at major museums around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Louis, and Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.
Comprising of floating sculptures, transparent boxes revealing intricate spider webs, and bubble-like cells, Saraceno’s utopian world proposes a reimagining of life as we know it. The Argentinian artist’s work is a product of his extensive knowledge on a multifarious scope of subjects including engineering, physics, chemistry, aeronautics, and science. His large-scale installations are anything but shy in shifting sensibilities surrounding speculative models, which meditate upon finding solutions for a sustainable future. Recognized internationally for his environmental installations, Saraceno calls upon human interaction within his work to create a singular experience based on interactivity and exploration of aerosolar becoming. We speak to the artist about his newest project, Aerocene.
Can you describe the weather you are experiencing, and how it is making you feel?
Pretty rainy, it’s a very dark evening, and cold. [The weather affects me] a lot. I miss the blue sky and warm weather.
Why did you decide to name your project Aerocene?
It’s been difficult to try to rethink possible futures, scenarios, epochs, or periods of time in geological terms, as a way to challenge us. Maybe by naming an age we might be able to help us think more practically about what an age, which is quite different would look like.
What do you think is the main issue that humanity is facing?
Humans. We think we Homo sapiens will be able to change what will be, but we’re a species on a planet that could quickly disappear from the sky. It’s kind of an invitation. Homo sapiens should maybe understand that dialogue should be expanded to more than human co-habitation of this planet.
Do artists have a responsibility to address issues that they see facing the world?
In what way are you addressing what you perceive to be the problems that we are facing?
Now we are working on something called the “Aerocene Explorer” I think of it as a tool to investigate or explore or question, inquire, or help us to think about what might be. It’s an invitation to think or maybe to engage in this new epoch what we call Aerocene. A tool that might be able to spark imagination about a different relationship and how we today could understand being on a floating planet.
One of the things we do is invite people from fields of anthropology, and hackers, doers, makers, artists, and then we all come together, it’s quite diverse, and the different ways we try to work together. I enjoy having conversations, I enjoy getting inspired by other people.
What has happened so far with Aerocene?
We have broken a record by having the first human in the air without a vehicle—I’m talking about something unique, spectacular, an unbelievable achievement. We are able to stretch ideas, stretch the imagination of others, on what we could do differently. It breaks art, science, political fact, it questions a lot of different ideas, and it challenges different ways in which we can work together. Hopefully.
Written by Ramona Postino