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tomas saraceno: cloud city on the met roof
original content
may 16, 2012
tomas saraceno: cloud city on the met roof


on the roof- ‘cloud city’ by tomás saraceno, 2012
54" L x 29" W x 28" H
glass (shiny, mirrored, transparent), steel joints, steel cables
all images © tomás saraceno


tomás saraceno on the roof: cloud city at the met
the metropolitan museum of art, new york city, new york, USA
on now until november 4th, 2012

argentinian artist tomás saraceno has developed his first major commissioned, site-specific installation in the united states for the roof of the metropolitan museum of art
in new york city entitled ‘cloud city’. the geodesic dome has been built from sixteen interconnected modules in the museum’s iris and b. gerald cantor roof garden
measuring fifty-four feet long, twenty-nine feet wide and twenty-eight feet high. the angular and bubbled form of the piece is comprised of glass segments cut in
non-identical geometric shapes held in place by steel joints, reinforcements and steel cables. the work recalls the artist’s interest in chemistry, biology, physics,
engineering, and cosmos, drawing its shape from bacteria, clouds, universes, foam and animals’ neural communication networks. the habitat-like, clustered sculpture
has been formed in saraceno’s signature artistic approach, incorporating facets of architecture, complex geometries, biology and human involvement in order to aid in
his continued investigation into experiential environments.

the met has made the installation accessible to a limited amount of museum goers for a small portion of time to experience panoramic views of central park and a
high-rise vision of manhattan’s cityscape from the interior of ‘cloud city’. the alternately reflective, shined and transparent glass components create dizzying spatial
illusions and a stunning aerial perspective of the picturesque city. the interactive sculpture is outfitted with a series of stairs within its structure, guiding its visitors to
the uppermost modules of its non-linear body. saraceno again attempts to re-conceive of a familiar environment, picturing this scene through new lens provided by
a new built as a participatory contingent sub-environment for which the gallery-goer is required to interact with. due to the particular limitations such as weather,
ticketing and dress code enforced upon visitors, the met has created a webpage for the geodesic dome with news updates and instructions for those who wish to enter
the installation in order to maintain the sculptural integrity of the piece.


a view of the completed installation


the finished work just after all segments had been put in place


left: ‘tomás saraceno on the roof: cloud city’
right: a view of manhattan from the inside of the sculpture

now we are up on the roof , focusing inside some sort of telescope …
maybe there is ‘life’ up there … then the first day we built a
telescope of this dimension
(gesture showing 1 foot) … we look through and we cannot see anything…
then next year we built a bigger telescope (gesture showing 4 feet), we
look again and…
nothing. the year after… we built a bigger telescope and we kept going
year after year, the telescope getting bigger and still… nothing, now
there is a moment
when the telescope gets so big that the other ones see us first – the
telescope – rather than us seeing the other one (through it). … i guess
the story is from
stanislav lem, written on a carl sagan book
.’ -tomás saraceno


a ground perspective, looking up to view of the look-out pods at the top of the sculpture


the installation pictures the cityscape upon its oddly-shaped reflective surfaces


each of the sixteen modules were transported to the met on the back of an open-bed truck

… welcome on board of spaceship earth, fuller might have said
…and don pettit, on board of iss (international space station) could
reply ……….’ironically,
when earthlings can see us, we cannot see them. the glare from the full
sun effectively turns our windows into mirrors that return our own
ghostly reflection.’
* …… telescopes have turned into microscopes , and now all universe
had fit into it … the focus is embracing simultaneity … reflected on the
moon is
the atmosphere of cloud cities where nothing in life is as important as
you think it is, while you are thinking about it, in the focusing
illusion of daniel kahneman
‘.

-tomás saraceno


the pods were then lifted with a crane and placed on the flat roof of the museum


the interconnected components are secured into one piece measuring fifty-four feet long by twenty-nine feet wide and twenty-eight feet high

… at night… intergalactic landscape,…orbiting minutes of the iss
(international space station) that will be on sight and visible with the
naked eye, above the rooftop
of the met ………… 8th of june 20:46:56 – 16th of june 20:48:57 – 11th august
20:25:38 – 24th august 18:49:22 – 25th august 20:22:55 – 6th october
19:51:53 –
12th october 19:48:27 – 13th october 18:43:15 – 13th october 20:21:05 – 19th october 18:41:39 -
20th october 19:12:25 – 26th october 19:05:01 – 27th october
19:36:11. roughly two-thirds of us citizens and one-fifth of the world’s inhabitants have lost naked-eye visibility
of the milky way and the thousands of stars that
were our ancestors’ constant nocturnal companion… malcolm smith, seed magazine, no 21
‘. -tomás saraceno


several workers belay from the steel frame of the structure in order to secure the oddly-shaped mirrored, shiny and transparent glass components


the massive geodesic sculpture in progress


the visitor may look out to the street below through transparent panes of glass, while the reflective surfaces mirror the observer’s own image inside the dome
from various angles


the 20 ton structure is anchored to the roof of the museum by a series of steel cables


artist’s conceptual montage


artist’s conceptual montage


video via the creators project

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