Tomás Saraceno’s practice is informed by concepts linking art, life science, and the social sciences. Enmeshed in the junction of these worlds, his floating sculptures, community projects, and immersive installations propose sensory solidarity with the planet through a social, mental, and environmental ecology of practice. For more than a decade, he has been imagining a world free from carbon, extractivism, capitalism, patriarchy and fossil fuel - or what he calls CECPF- that inflames some forms of life. In an unorthodox collaboration with cosmic webs, the air, spider/webs and indigenous communities, energies converge in a new practice of solidarity. In our era of climate emergency—when ecosystems are at risk—Saraceno’s work, deepening our understanding of environmental justice and interspecies cohabitation, carried out through the artist’s initiated projects Aerocene and Arachnophilia.

 

For more than two decades, Saraceno has activated projects aimed towards an ethical collaboration with the atmosphere, including Museo Aero Solar (2007-) and the Aerocene Foundation (2015-), a non-profit organization devoted to community building, scientific research, artistic experience, and education. At the core of the Foundation is Aerocene, a multi-disciplinary project that proposes a new era for the air, to free the air. The Aerocene community is active in 126 countries composed of community members floating over six continents in forty-three different countries, participates both on the ground and in the fields of science and politics. With 6,700 minutes in the air free from carbon and thirty-three Museo Aero Solar’s built worldwide, Aerocene actively seeks to devise new modes of sensitivity, reactivating a common imaginary towards an ethical collaboration with the environment and the atmosphere. Through the Aerocene app hundreds of Aerocene community members have flown 4747 virtual flights, travelling 137,757,302 km free of carbon.

 

In another thread of his practice, Saraceno’s profound interest in spiders and their webs led to the formation of the Arachnophilia. Arachnophilia is a not-for-profit, interdisciplinary spider/web research community that builds on innovations arising from Saraceno’s past collaborative research into spider/web architectures, materials, modes of vibrational signaling and behavior. Through this community, Arachnophilia explores concepts and ideas related to spiders and webs across multiple scientific and theoretical disciplines, including vibrational communication, biomateriomics, architecture and engineering, animal ethology, nonhuman philosophy, anthropology, biodiversity/conservation, sound studies and music. The Arachnomancy App was launched on the occasion of the 2019 Venice Biennale and in the context of the sixth mass extinction. Through this app, users are encouraged to notice and document spider webs they encounter in both wild and urban spaces—becoming engaged and curious Citizen Scientists as they navigate the spaces around them.

 

In the past two decades Saraceno has furthermore collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Max Planck Institute, the Nanyang Technological University, the Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum London. He has lectured in institutions worldwide, and directed the Institute of Architecture‐related Art (IAK) at Braunschweig University of Technology, Germany (2014–2016); and held residencies at Centre National d’Études Spatiales (2014–2015), MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (2012–ongoing) and Atelier Calder (2010), among others. Saraceno has most recently been exhibited in: Event Horizon: Tomás Saraceno at Cisternerne, Copenhagen (2020); Aria, at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2020); the 58th International Art Exhibition ‐ La Biennale di Venezia, May You Live In Interesting Times; and carte blanche á Tomás Saraceno: ON AIR at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018). His work is housed in international collections including the Bauhaus Museum, Weimar; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Nationalgalerie, and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin.

 

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 Ricardo Alarcon, Giulia Albarello, Miriam Aller, Gustavo Alonso Serafin, Duncan Anderson, Mateo Argerich, Scott Barnes, Lars Behrendt, Ally Bisshop, Francesca Boenzi, Irina Bogdan, Sascha Boldt, Viola Cafuli, Sebastian Canales, Saverio Cantoni, Thomas Charil, Tatiana Chaves, Constance Chester, Filippo Corato, Sonia D’Agrain, Samantha Dearo, Manie Du Plessis, Hugo Du Plessix, Sebastian Ducros, Andrea Familari, Sara Ferrer, Meike Fischer, Luca Girardini, Paula Guajardo, Martin Heller, Marina Höxter, Georgi Kazlachev, Sarah Kisner, Christos Kollias, Nemanja Kordic, Dario Lagana, Alice Lamperti, Rosalie Laurin, Vicente Macellari, Roxanne Mackie, Lucas Mateluna, Manuela Mazure, Claudia Meléndez, Jillian Meyer, Roland Muehlethaler, Lugh O’Neill, Jörg Niemann, Lea Nikou, Jaime Norambuena, Tania Patritti, Martina Pelacchi, Soledad Pons, Alfredo Ramos, Matthew Raven, Patrick Reddy, Jazmin Schenone, Hans-Martin Schlesier, Anna-Sophie Schmidt, Aysegül Seyhan, Judith Straßenberger, Ilka Tödt, Desirée Valdes, Alberto Vallejo, Erik Vogler, Philipp Weber and Davide Zucco.

 

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

 

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