Tomás Saraceno’s (b.1973, Argentina) oeuvre could be seen as ongoing research, informed by the worlds of art, architecture, natural sciences, astrophysics and engineering; his floating sculptures, community projects and interactive installations propose and explore new, sustainable ways of inhabiting and sensing the environment. Aerocene, an open-source community project for artistic and scientific exploration initiated from Saraceno’s vision, becomes buoyant only by the heat of the Sun and infrared radiation from the surface of Earth.

 

In 2015, Saraceno achieved the world record for the first and longest certified fully-solar manned flight. During the past decade, he has initiated collaborations with renowned scientific institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Max Planck Institute, the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, and institutions of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group, among them Imperial College and the Natural History Museum London. Saraceno lectures in institutions worldwide and directed the Institute of Architecture-related Art (IAK) at Braunschweig University of Technology, Germany (2014–2016).  

 

He was the first person to scan, reconstruct and reimagine spiders’ weaved spatial habitats, and possesses the only three-dimensional spider web collection to existence. He has held residencies at Centre National d’Études Spatiales (2014–2015), MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (2012–ongoing) and Atelier Calder (2010), among others. In 2009, Saraceno attended the International Space Studies Program at NASA Ames. That same year he presented a major installation at the 53rd Venice Biennale and was later awarded the prestigious Calder Prize. His work has been widely exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions such as  the 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, May You Live In Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff; his carte blanche exhibition ON AIR, curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018) A Thermodynamic Imaginary, curated by Pedro Gadanho, at Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon (2018); How to Entangle the Universe in a Spider’s Web, Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires (2017); Stillness in Motion – Cloud Cities, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016); Aerocene, at Solutions COP21, Grand Palais, Paris; Arachnid Orchestra. Jam Sessions, at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; Becoming Aerosolar, at 21er Haus, Belvedere, Vienna (all 2015); In Orbit, at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein- Westfalen K21, Düsseldorf (2013–ongoing); On Space Time Foam, at HangarBicocca, Milan (2012-13); On the Roof: Cloud City, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2012); Cloud Cities, at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2011–12), among others. Saraceno’s work is included in the collections of Bauhaus Museum, Weimar; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin; among others.

 

Saraceno lives and works in and beyond the planet Earth.

STUDIO TOMÁS SARACENO

 

After studying art and architecture in Buenos Aires, Frankfurt am Main, and Venice, Tomás Saraceno established his studio in Frankfurt am Main in 2005. The studio relocated to Berlin in 2012 and, after a brief interim, moved into the former administrative building of Actien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrication (AGFA) in Berlin-Rummelsburg. The studio gradually activated and renovated the previously unoccupied building, which was constructed in 1916, and the neighbouring multi-story factory. Studio members from multidisciplinary backgrounds, including designers, architects, anthropologists, biologists, engineers, art historians, curators, and musicians work in the hybrid environment of workshop, office, workshop, the Arachnophilia Research Laboratory and Aerocene community-enthusiasts.

 

The system of signs stemming from Saraceno’s artistic practice engenders connections throughout the departments; the variegated roles of each studio member at times personifying the complex structures of the artworks surrounding them. An attunement to the disappearance of clouds and rising tides emerges through the cloud-like structures evocative of the Weaire-Phelan geometry of aggregating foam and soap bubbles. In the context of the current ecological crisis, the rights of non-humans and the non-living are investigated through a lens focused on moving past the hierarchical ethos of the tree of life metaphor to one that recognizes the entangled relationships between phenomena. In acknowledging the symbiotic threads linking all things, the hybrid webs spun in collaboration with the studio’s arachnid friends affirm how even our smallest movements send out vibrations along the web of life.

 

The Arachnophilia Research Laboratory’s undertakings open up potential ways of reconnecting and recalibrating our attention and senses to our nonhuman kin, often unnoticed. Through expanding its artistic networks, the Arachnophilia seeks to invent innovative, playful and engaging platforms for bringing research discourse into the public sphere. Over the past years, this has led to an opening up of the research at Studio Tomás Saraceno into the fields of biomateriomics, bioacoustics, ethology and cognitive science, among others, as a way of engaging speculatively, but also sensitively, with the forms of life that exist all around us. Visit arachnophila.net, a living archive of coexistences, to engage in the Lab’s endeavours.

 

The Aerocene Foundation furthermore houses a core team within Studio Tomás Saraceno. Aerocene is an interdisciplinary artistic community that seeks to devise new modes of sensitivity, reactivating a common imaginary towards an ethical collaboration with the atmosphere and the environment, free from borders, free from fossil fuels. By collectively developing tools and applications in, on for and with the air, Aerocene un-tethers a new epoch, an emergent cloudscape for a post fossil fuel era.

 

In an era of ecological upheaval, there is a perceived imperative for anthropocentric worlds to re-attune to other species and more-than-human ways of inhabiting our shared planet. These artistic and scientific enquiries can enable new hybrid encounters and relationships, involving multiple entities: from spiders to humans, from gravitational waves to particles of dust.

 

Studio Tomás Saraceno is comprised of Giulia Albarello, Miriam Aller, Gustavo Alonzo, Duncan Anderson, Mateo Argerich, Scott Barnes, Lars Behrendt, Fabiola Bierhoff, Ally Bisshop,  Timothy Blake, Francesca Boenzi, Irina Bogdan, Sasha Boldt,  Irina Bogdan, Sascha Boldt, Elaine Bonavia, Viola Cafuli, Saverio Cantoni, Thomas Charil, Tatiana Chaves, Connie Chester, Marlene Coats, Filippo Corato, Sonia d’Agrain, Carola Dietrich, Miriam Dreyer, Manie Du Plessis, Hugo Du Plessix, Sebastian Ducros, Regis Dumoulin, Gwilym Faulkner, Meike Fischer, Luca Girardini, Charles Gonzalez, Samantha Grob, Alice Hall, Max Hausmann, Martin Heller, Marina Höxter, Adam Hudec, Jasper Humpert, Eric Jones, Jennifer Jordan, Georgi Kazlachev, Cordelia Kert Soender, Sarah Kisner, Elisa Kofol, Christos Kollias, Yelta Köm, Nemanja Kordic, Dario Lagana, Rosalie Laurin, Alice Lamperti, Rosalie Laurin, Davide Luciani, Camilla Lundell,  Roxanne Mackie, Lucas Mateluna, Manuela Mazure-Azcona, Claudia Melendez, Pepe Menéndez-Conde, Jillian Meyer, Bettina Mileta, Xavier Molina Barragan, Olivia Moore, Roland Muehlethaler, Jörg Niemann, Lea Nikou, Jaime Norambuena, Aurelia Nowak, Lugh O’Neill, Catarina Palma, Tania Patritti, Martina Pelacchi, Marco Pittaluga, Brendan Power, Diego Puerto, Alfredo Ramos, Matthew Raven, Patrick Reddy, Saakib Sait, Jekaterina Saveljeva, Rebecca Schedler, Jazmin Scherone, Hans-Martin Schlesier, Anna Sophie Schmidt, Aysegul Seyhan, Grace Sparapani, Sebastian Steinboeck, Judith Strassenberger, James Sundermann, Greta Tafel, Ilka Tödt, Deha Uzbas, Desirée Valdes, Zaida Violan, Erik Vogler, Filippo Vogliazzo, Philip Weber, Julius Weiland, Beatrice Zaidenberg, and Davide Zucco.

 

I am most grateful for the support by Natalija Miodragovic in the development of the conceptual background of works and ideas developed until 2015.

 

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