tomás saraceno interview on aero(s)cene at the venice art biennale

tomás saraceno interview on aero(s)cene at the venice art biennale

at the arsenale in venice, for the venice art biennale, tomás saraceno presents aero(s)cene — an installation comprising two artworks: on the disappearance of clouds; and acqua alta: en clave de sol; both of which resonate with aerocene, a project by an interdisciplinary artistic community that seeks to devise new models of sensitivity, reactivating a common imaginary towards an ethical collaboration with the atmosphere and the environment, free from borders, free from fossil fuels.


designboom has met tomás saraceno three times already this year — first at the ‘engadin art talks, then in his studio in berlin, and finally on the occasion of the gala event of designboom’s curated THE DESIGN PRIZE, at which the argentinian artist received milan’s golden madonnina award in the category ‘in the artistic realm’. plenty occasions to talk about his body of work…

the aero(s)cene installation at the gaggiandre of the arsenale addresses the rising sea phases of global warming
image © designboom



designboom (DB): what is aero(s)cene ?


tomás saraceno (TS): aero(s)cene is a cloudscape of cluster-like structures inspired by the weaire-phelan geometry of aggregating foam and soap bubbles, presenting a post fossil fuel, where the moon’s gravitational pull duets with the rising sea phases of global warming. these aero(s)cenes oscillate throughout the day at the rhythm of the sea tides, performing an elemental choreography, where carbon clouds become readable and global warming becomes audible.

cluster-like structures inspired by the weaire-phelan geometry
image © designboom



DB: why is this biennale project so important for you?


TS: clouds are disappearing. as CO2 and other atmospheric pollutants rise, new clouds of a noxious nature arise with them, in turn dispersing the tropospheric clouds whose reflectivity sustain the planetary thermic balance. water and air, planets and stars, are tied by cycles of transformation. every change is refracted in this fragile tension, calling for new ways of thinking, feeling and knowing multiple atmospheric threads of interconnection. through this composition, the rising tides of venice generate the rhythms of a new era that allows us to hear beyond our range of attention. as carbon clouds become readable, global warming become audible, forecasting the many urgent scenarios of displacement triggered by their reverberation across the disrupted planet’s ecosystem.

‘when clouds appear, like rocks and towers, the earth’s refreshed, with frequent showers.’



TS (continued): ‘on the disappearance of clouds’ presents a post fossil fuel, emergent cloudscape in a tidal scenography, where the moon’s gravitational pull duets with the rising sea phases of global warming. my cluster-like structures are moving into ongoing aero(s)cenes – they resonate with aerocene. in the connected ‘acqua alta: en clave de sol’, the intermittent signal resounds through the gaggiandre at the frequency of the tidal phases, making audible the urgent voices of sea levels as they rise. synchronously, the sun draws sound waves in light of acqua alta, reflecting a score in elemental motion, composing in clave de sol.

the sun draws sound waves in light on the water, reflecting a score in elemental motion
image © designboom



TS (continued): the city of venice developed an alarm system to warn against high water. sixteen sirens are spread around the city to warn that ‘acqua alta’ is expected to appear within two to four hours. the tones rise in correspondence to the 4 levels of flooding. ‘en clave de sol’ work speculates on how the floating city might sound in a hundred years, its vulnerable ecology completely submerged under the quick-flowing tides, its foundations eroded by the overexploitation of the soil and water.
six speakers acoustically expand the ebb and flow of the arsenale’s waters, on their six hour cycle. synchronously, the sun draws sound waves in light of ‘aqua alta’, reflecting a score in elemental motion, composing in ‘en clave de sol’.

sound composition ‘acqua alta: en clave de sol’, 2019
image © designboom



DB: artwork, especially public installations, can be quite expensive. how do you survive without the use of sponsors?


TS: it is important to note that projects are like tangled webs with many different influences exemplified as key yet uniquely confusing strings of support. it is about how much you recognize these different relationships and use the entanglements as part of your own mode of expressions. understanding the production and the presence of my work is how I best commentate on economic values. however, I do often create sculptures of many different sizes for collectors. these sales provide the finance that I need to focus on my other more complicated projects.

a view at the ‘on the disappearance of clouds’ installation
image © designboom



DB: with your work stretching across so many fields, do you define whether a project is an artistic or technological research?


TS: I try and mix every form of knowledge in order to create a new practice. by thinking in many different universes, my work and specific projects are not defined in categories like technological, artistic or scientific. there are no disciplines today in creativity, especially in comparison to how it used to be. I am interested in creating a narrative of reality that resonates with the majority of people and the way they are living.

image © studio tomás saraceno



DB: what philosophies guide your practice?


TS: sharing is part of being human, so we should make sure that every part of nature is equal in its abilities. we need to rethink the world around us and invest in projects that promote this narrative. by doing so, there will be a new dynamic where everything is equal and possible.


DB: what are you currently working on?


TS: crypto-currency is something that I am very interested in right now. I always believe that it is important to promote things that you believe would work well. speaking generally and not about me as an artistic, we need to practice things that we feel can contribute to making a difference for the better. it is amazing to do this; it is amazing when we achieve things through sharing our knowledge. crypto-currency is now at a size where it can be beneficial to many, many people so would be interesting to work with.

image © studio tomás saraceno



project info:


name: aero(s)cene

artist: tomás saraceno

exhibiton: la biennale di venezia – 58th international exhibition ‘may you live in interesting times’

duration: 11 may – 24 november 2019

location: at the gaggiandre of the arsenale, venice, italy

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,379 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample