Cloud Cities Barcelona

 

 

 

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Aria
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ON AIR
ON AIR
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Cloud Cities Barcelona

Cloud Cities Barcelona

Tomás Saraceno, Installation view of Cloud Cities Barcelona, 2022. Courtesy Studio Tomás Saraceno and Mirador torre Glòries. Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno. © Tomás Saraceno

For millennia, humans have looked to the clouds and the behaviours of plants and animals to predict collective futures, finding messages hidden in their changing shapes and habits. Yet, in the context of the Capitalocene, the knowledge of entire ecosystems is being threatened and clouds are disappearing, replaced by toxic plumes of pollution and digital misinformation. Can an observatory in the 21st century, with its distant gaze, sense within and imagine something other than clouds in the shape of castles in the sky?

 

Opening on May 20th, 2022, Cloud Cities Barcelona, by Tomás Saraceno, invites participants into a space of communal encounter, discourse and critical speculation, suspended at a height of over 130 meters over the city of Barcelona and housed in the 360° observation deck of Mirador torre Glòries.

 

 

“Like droplets of water condensing along the strands of a spider’s web, cosmic and terrestrial clouds form: Clouds of neighbourhoods of gentrification; Stratocumulus entangled in webs of life; Cirrus threads of connection; Cumulus in extinction; Stratus is stillness in motion; Altostrati unlearn what we have learned; Clouds of spider/webs above Sagrada Família move from arachnophobia to Arachnophilia; Mama clouds to fall asleep; Altocumulus floats in the infinity of breath while Nimbuses are fish swimming in the air; Cloud dreams of fairer weathers… “

 

Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno, Solitary semi-social mapping of EPIC 205071984 c by a solo Nephila senegalensis – two weeks and a quartet of Cyrtophora citricola – five weeks, 2016. Courtesy Studio Tomás Saraceno. Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno. 

Tomás Saraceno, Solitary semi-social mapping of EPIC 205071984 c by a solo Nephila senegalensis – two weeks and a quartet of Cyrtophora citricola – five weeks, 2016. Courtesy Studio Tomás Saraceno. Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno. 

Tomás Saraceno, Installation view of Cloud Cities Barcelona, 2022. Courtesy Studio Tomás Saraceno and Mirador torre Glòries. Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno. © Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno, Installation view of Cloud Cities Barcelona, 2022. Courtesy Studio Tomás Saraceno and Mirador torre Glòries. Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno. © Tomás Saraceno

Cloud Cities Barcelona occupies an area of 130m³ and is composed of 113 cloud spaces made of 5000 nodes connecting 6km of tensile cables. Moving through the air at a height between 4 and 10m relative to the floor, or becoming enveloped by the atmosphere of the cupola’s apex, participants can open to a novel sensory experience that converts this observatory into a suspended realm from which to look inwards and outwards, to gather and dialogue, immersed in the multiplicity of worlds made manifest in the changing shapes of passing clouds. Wandering along three paths of varying levels of complexity, participants can pause to find a rotating selection of books, in an invitation to inhabit shared time and consider alternative constellations of the urban public sphere, speculative architectures, the environmental crisis, and the entangled web of life. 

 

Tomás Saraceno, Installation view of Cloud Cities Barcelona, 2022. Courtesy Studio Tomás Saraceno and Mirador torre Glòries. Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno. © Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno, Installation view of Cloud Cities Barcelona, 2022. Courtesy Studio Tomás Saraceno and Mirador torre Glòries. Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno. © Tomás Saraceno

Webs of At-tent(s)ion, 2018. Installation view at ON AIR, carte blanche exhibition to Tomás Saraceno, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and neugerriemschneider (Berlin). Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno.

Webs of At-tent(s)ion, 2018. Installation view at ON AIR, carte blanche exhibition to Tomás Saraceno, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and neugerriemschneider (Berlin). Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno.

 

 

 

In the midst of climate emergency, war, global pandemics, racial-ecocidal capitalism, social exclusion, and the proliferation of clouds of pollution and misinformation, “Cloud Cities” is a proposal for a common imaginary for an ethical re-alliance with the environment, the planet and the cosmic web beyond anthropocentrism, his cloud-shaped sculptures, reminiscent of the geometric Weaire-Phelan structure of foam and soap bubbles, act as an invitation to engage from diverse bearings, where there is neither up nor down, no inside or outside, and all is floating. As part of this series, Cloud Cities Barcelona challenges the verticality of the observatory’s distant gaze through alternative geometries of togetherness, so as to suspend social distances and collectively consider the multi-scalar threads of relation that weave our shared but threatened world and bind our interdependent fates.
For more than two decades, Saraceno has been imagining and activating a world free from fossil fuels, in collaboration with spiders and their webs, situated forms of knowledge, and with the vibrant superorganism that is the cosmic web, building an artistic practice of unprecedented variety and scale. Informed by the groundbreaking long-term research and curiosity of the international and interdisciplinary Aerocene and Arachnophilia communities, founded by Saraceno, Cloud Cities Barcelona invites participants into a porous cloudscape of tensions in suspension, to engage in collective critical reflections, activate zones of emergence and reconsider worldwide networks of care.

 

Create your own cities of the air and explore Cloud Cities Barcelona at cloudcities.org.

Cloud Cities Barcelona Public Program

On May 20th, the first of a series of free moderated conversations will take place with renowned architects, curators, activists, and local thinkers to explore key issues around urban public spheres, the environmental crisis, speculative architectures, terrestrial and cosmic clouds and webs of life. The conversations will be moderated by Joseph Grima and Tomás Saraceno and will begin at 18:30 at Mirador torre Glòries.

 

Cloud Cities Barcelona Library

In addition, floating inside Cloud Cities Barcelona, find a rotating selection of books to consider together alternative constellations of the urban public sphere, speculative architectures, the environmental crisis, and the entangled web of life. Read more about the rotating library of Cloud Cities Barcelona.

 

Cloud Cities Barcelona Publication

Edited by Space Caviar and Studio Tomás Saraceno, a publication stemming from the Cloud Cities Barcelona Public Program will be released in the second half of 2022. Through a series of conversations, short texts, visual documentation and historical references, it will provide an expanded window into Saraceno’s ongoing interest in the cultural and scientific value of clouds, situating the artwork within his broader artistic output. This publication will mirror the communal contemplations, dialogues, and critical reflections that emerge within Cloud Cities Barcelona, weaving many of the social, architectural and environmental challenges posed by cities today.

COLLABORATORS

I want to thank the more than 200 people who climbed through 6km of fabrics and nets: the riggers, welders, woodworkers, painters, architects, engineers, lighting specialists, producers… working tirelessly to make Cloud Cities Barcelona a reality! I also want to share my deep gratitude to David Brush, Javier Zarrabeitia, Enrique Fonseca and all the Merlin team for opening this space to the public through art. To Tatxo Benet, Jaume Roures, David Xirau Trias, Rita Pujals, Montse Cortés, and all the great team at MediaPro, thank you for trusting me and choosing me for this project, for being bold collectors, for your great work and commitment to this project! Many thanks to Klaus Bollinger for his accompaniment over the years and to Klaas De Rycke, Jef Rombouts, Oriane Guidet, Antoine Rocca, Wim Jansen, Ludovic Regnault, Mathias Kutterer and the Bollinger-Grohmann team for their excellent work in engineering this sculpture and for joining me in this dream to make the impossible possible, as well as Tim Leigh, Lewis Earl, Matt Grey, Nic Kidd, Lukasz Tusnio, Joe Clifton and the Stage One team for their determination, dedication and tireless work. I also would like to thank Jordi Parés and Thinking Engineers, Art Engineering, Pablo Garrido, Josep Lluis Sisternas and b720 Arquitectos, and BAC Engineering Consultancy Group, and also Julie’s Bicycle for doing the carbon footprint study of the site, so we keep learning and moving towards sustainability and circularity. Many thanks to my friend Joseph Grima, with whom we have collaborated so many times, to the Space Caviar team, and to the panelists of the public program, Benedetta Tagliabue, Mireia Luzárraga, Maite Borjabad, Ethel Baraona Pohl, Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, Gabriel Alonso and Maria Ptqk, as well as to the Pickles PR team, for their great help in the communication of this project. To Andersen’s Contemporary; Ruth Benzacar Gallery; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery; Pinksummer, Contemporary Art; and Neugerriemschneider thank you for your support over the years! To all the fabrics/spiders who have inspired me and with whom I have collaborated, especially those who live in Torre Glòries, thank you! I hope you feel welcome in this space. With deep gratitude to all the members of the international communities of Aerocene and Arachnophilia and to the excellent team of my studio, with whom we never stop dreaming, especially Manuela Mazure, Thomas Charil, Lucía Cash, Dario Laganà, Guido Palmadessa, Lars Behrendt, Sarah Kisner, Claudia Meléndez, Jillian Meyer, Nemenja Koric, Ilka Todt, and Georgi Kazlachev.

And to all my family and friends, especially those of you who are here today, thank you!

 

 

 

 

Aria
Aria
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ON AIR
ON AIR
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