Let’s think about an object and the space it occupies. There are two possibilities in which an object can interact with space: it can be a “guest” of the space it is in or totally modify it. In that moment, when an object is projected and built to modify space, our attention is no longer focused on the object but on the interaction between it and the “invisible atmosphere” around it.
Can the same be true for a human body? Can a human body modify space or change a viewer’s perception of that space? Apparently not. A human body is a human body, and one can not decide to make it bigger, smaller, taller or shorter.
But, for a moment, imagine weapons in this scenario. The military philosophy says that weapons, a sword, a haikido stick, even a gun, are a continuation or strengthening of human musculature. Ok, then what happens if we consider every object, every sculpture, every installation as an extension of the human body? One’s perspective can radically change. With this premise one doesn’t need the modification of a human body to consider his or her intervention in space. A body, a human being modifies space, his or her surroundings (the visible and invisible) – a body simply needs to do, act and even intervene in space.
The word “Anthropocene”, invented by the biologist Eugene Stoermer and used by the Nobel Prize winning chemist Paul Crutze, relates to the present geological age, considered as the period during which humanity has the most determinant influence on climate and the environment. Many of Tomás Saraceno’s projects revolve around this concept.
Entering the only big room in which the exhibition is articulated, one finds “Museo Aero Solar “, a monumental entity placed in the center of the room. I define it as an “entity” because Saraceno is not interested in showing/investigating its aesthetic strength or value. Yet, despite this, being inside it is a fascinating experience. Made with re-used plastic bags, tape, a ventilator, and polyester rope, one can not help but be impressed by its architectural majesty. It is a flying museum, and each time it travels the world, new sections are added and it takes new shapes. The 21er Haus caption beside the work says:” The core of the museo resides in the inventiveness of local inhabitants, not in its image: among collective action and art, do-it-together technology and experiment, it is a voyage back/forward in time.” The room is invaded by other flying entities, such as Free Flight Aerosolar Gemini, 2015, a “sculpture” that rises in the air if it is sunny. “The warm air inside will work as an engine. A journey with zero emissions”, says the caption.
This complex and fascinating exhibition should be considered as an interdisciplinary, germinal / experimental study on various urgent themes. The talent of Saraceno is to make, indeed, an almost socio-scientific research (environmental issues along with sustainability, alternative energies and technology are looked at) yet he never ventures completely away from such concepts and elements of art like drawing, shape, space and the void.
A futuristic bicycle, Aerosolar Cycle, is the result of a collaboration between the artist and “Werkstatt Lastenrad”, a community of bike constructors and is an example of how Saraceno is interested in the concept of “shared knowledge”.
The “englobing” nature of “Museo Aero Solar” and the possibility to look at it from inside its sculpturally monumental nature reminds me of Ernesto Neto’s exhibition I visited and reviewed a few weeks ago. Thinking about the two exhibitions, Ernesto Neto and Tomás Saraceno have more than a few things in common: both are South American, both have a particular ability to modify the viewer’s perception of space, both express an artistic conception based on such concepts as evironment, interdisciplinarity practice, natural elements, collaboration, humanity, progress as well as sustainability. Interesting points topics that many Viennese Museums and institutions are quite sensitive to.
Becoming Aerosolar is much more than an art exhibition and looking at Saraceno’s research, it is only natural to ask oneself how to define the artist. An engineer? A philosopher? A scientist? A sculptor? It might best be said that Thomas Saraceno is an architect of utopia.
Tomás Saraceno was born in Tucumán, Argentine, in 1973. He lives and works in Berlin.