Tomás Saraceno: Aerocene Tata Inti – Event Horizon – Aerocene, Launches at White Sands

February 7, 2020 - January 3, 2021
Video Gallery

Three videos by Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno inaugurate the Kemper Art Museum’s new video gallery. Aerocene Tata Inti – Event Horizon – Aerocene, Launches at White Sands documents launches of Saraceno’s Aerosolar sculptures in Argentina, Bolivia, and the United States. These solar-powered airborne sculptures are part of the artist’s ongoing project to envision a new epoch of ethical collaboration with the environment, one divorced from a dependence on fossil fuels. By developing, testing, and launching his Aerosolar sculptures, Saraceno and his many collaborators seek to open up the imagination, signaling the potential for a new age, what the artist refers to as the Aerocene epoch, in which we are connected with the air, not polluters of it, and respectful of the sun, harnessing its unlimited potential for constructive purposes.

The first launch takes place in Jujuy, Argentina, in 2017 where a crew of sociologists, artists, radio amateurs, and members of the local community fly eight Aerocene Explorers―do-it-yourself kits for emissions-free floating sculptures that fit within a portable backpack―over the Salinas Grandes salt lake. The location of this launch is environmentally and politically significant as the lake is the site of an extensive lithium extraction industry. The second launch takes place at Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia, the largest flat surface on earth and another site of mass lithium extraction. The third launch takes place at White Sands, New Mexico, where the first nuclear bomb was tested in 1945.

All three videos act as records of ephemeral actions, but move beyond mere documentation to become engrossing artworks on their own. Filmed in black-and-white with only ambient sound, the works vividly combine the material and performative aspects of Saraceno’s visionary practice while highlighting the striking beauty of these diverse landscapes.

This video presentation complements the artist’s permanent site-specific commission, which will be installed in the Museum’s new lobby this fall. Titled Cosmic Filaments, the work comprises three iridescent modules suspended in a web of ropes attached through select points of contact to the ceiling and adjacent walls. The installation replicates the tensile strength and flexibility of a spider web, while the three polyhedron-shaped modules simultaneously evoke cosmic configurations, microscopic cellular systems, and biospheres in which humans could eventually exist.

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About the artist

Tomás Saraceno was born in Tucamán, Argentina in 1973 and currently lives and works in Berlin. He trained as an architect at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires (1992–99) and did postgraduate work in Art & Architecture at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Kunst–Städelschule, Frankfurt (2001–3). In 2009 Saraceno was artist-in-residence at NASA’s International Space Studies Program and won the Calder Prize, awarded biannually to honor a living artist who has completed innovative early work. Saraceno has had numerous solo exhibitions, including On Air at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2018); Cosmic Jive, Tomás Saraceno: The Spider Sessions at the Villa Croce in Genoa, Italy (2014); In Orbit at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K21 in Düsseldorf, Germany (2013); On Space Time Foam at Hangar Bicocca in Milan, Italy (2012–13); Tomás Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City, a site-specific installation commissioned for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2012); Cloud Cities at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2011–12). Saraceno also presented major installations at the Venice Biennale in 2019 and 2009. His solo exhibition, Cloud-Specific, was presented at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis (2011–12).

Exhibition support

Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles.

Image credit

Above: Tomás Saraceno (Argentine, b. 1973), Aerocene Tata Inti (video still), 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Aerocene Foundation. The artwork benefits from the support of CCK / Sistema Federal de Medios y Contenidos Públicos / Argentina.

Previous page:  Tomás Saraceno (Argentine, b. 1973), Aerocene, Launches at White Sands, New Mexico United States (video still), 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Aerocene Foundation. The sculpture D-O AEC Aerocene is made possible due to the generous support of Christian Just Linde. Video by Frederik Jacobi and Anthony Langdon.