Solitary semi-social mapping of SXDF- NB1006-2 by one Nephila clavipes – one week, one Tegenaria domestica – eight weeks and a pair of Cyrtophora citricola – one week, 2015 | Courtesy: the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin © Studio Saraceno
Tomás Saraceno’s Aerocene project manifests as a choreography around the world, as traces in the air, as a series of airborne sculptures that will achieve the longest emission-free journey around the world: becoming buoyant only by the heat of the Sun and infrared radiation from the surface of Earth. Floating without burning fossil fuels, without using solar panels or batteries, and without helium, hydrogen, or other rare gases, the Aerocene sculptures hold a message of simplicity, creativity, and cooperation for a world of tumultuous geopolitical relations, reminding us of our symbiotic relationship with the Earth and all of its species.
Saraceno’s exhibition Aerocene frames a metabolic and thermodynamic transformation of human societies’ relation with both the Earth and the Sun. Following the visionary Cloud Cities project, it devises airborne habitable structures that would lift their inhabitants and keep them afloat using planetary/cosmic energy sources. Saraceno deploys theoretical frameworks and insights from art, physics, and biology to create works that express utopian visions of a more interconnected existence. The Aerocene project carries the research potential to discover and study the rich plethora of life forms dwelling in clouds and upper-atmospheric levels – currently unexplored realms. Saraceno’s fascination with the natural phenomenon of social ballooning, an airborne method that spider colonies use to disperse and travel thousands of kilometers, gives inspiration to the Aerocene project and paves the way for speculating alternative interspecific social futures.