tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYC

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYC

tomás saraceno: particular matter(s)

 

from february 11 to april 17, 2022, the SHED presents ‘tomás saraceno: particular matter(s)’, the artist’s largest US exhibition to date. a highlight of the show is ‘free the air: how to hear the universe in a spider/web,’ a 95-foot-diameter (29-meter) sensory installation commissioned by the SHED that will fill the arts center’s soaring mccourt space. additionally, an expansive survey exhibition of the artist’s works and projects will occupy the level two and level four galleries of the SHED.

 

after its opening last month the exhibition’s immersive and sensory ‘free the air’ installation has gotten another boost on tiktok. it has gained new popularity across the social media platform due to the intensely engaging experience, which invites visitors to ‘hear the universe in a spiderweb.’ the installation is almost sublime, harkening to the conceptual cenotaph for newton as viewers enter into a massive globe — 95 feet in diameter — removed from the real world and into a separate universe. 

 

the tiktok post, which notes that ‘you need to check out this installation in NYC,’ captures the entrance into the otherworldly globe, just before the abstract ‘sun’ overhead dims and visitors are cast into the night. at this moment of conceptual nightfall, visitors suddenly experience the scale of a spider in its web. in this new world, distant movements of mysterious, larger bodies create vibrations. with the ambience of suspension, quietness, and smallness, the visitor transforms themself into a spider in its web, hearing the universe around them.

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYCtomás saraceno, free the air: how to hear the universe in a spiderweb, 2022 | photo nicholas knight

 

 

saraceno’s monumental sculpture debuts at the shed

 

bringing together new and recent work, ‘particular matter(s)’ builds upon tomás saraceno’s platforms and projects that invite visitors to deeply understand and celebrate the radical interconnectedness of all things. for more than a decade, the artist has been imagining a world free from borders and fossil fuels. his work addresses environmental racism and justice, envisions alternative ways of engaging with earth’s atmosphere, and deepens an understanding of interspecies cohabitation and communication.

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYCtomás saraceno, free the air: how to hear the universe in a spiderweb, 2022 | photo © designboom

 

 

‘at the heart of tomás saraceno’s work is a new way of inhabiting and experiencing the world, one that centers on an ecologically post-fossil fuels future,’ says emma enderby, the SHED’s curator-at-large. ‘tomás presents the necessity to reevaluate how we perceive and operate in theworld and what to expect from it, which he achieves through interconnected, nonhierarchical collaborations across the human and nonhuman. the air and the particles that define it, spiders and their webs, and our visitors are all protagonists in particular matter(s) at the SHED’

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYCtomás saraceno, free the air: how to hear the universe in a spiderweb, 2022 | photo © designboom

 

 

hearing the universe in a spider web

 

for his SHED commission, saraceno is creating a monumental sculpture, ‘free the air: how to hear the universe in a spider/web’, which will debut inside the 17,000-square-foot mccourt space. the installation will house an orchestrated sensory experience—a concert of vibrations emitted by the movement of particles in the air and spider’s entangled terrestrial and cosmic webs. this woven ensemble is composed of and performed by arachnid players, spider diviners, and atmospheric and cosmic matters, captured via recording devices in collaboration with the arachnophilia community and amplified in the installation.

tomás saraceno takes over the shed with sensory installation in largest US exhibition to date
tomás saraceno, collage towards free the air: how to hear the universe in a spider/web, 2022, courtesy the artist

 

 

‘this will be tomás saraceno’s first major survey exhibition in the united states, a multidisciplinary exhibition that showcases saraceno’s visionary, decades-long practice, dedicated to imagining sustainable futures amid our worsening global climate emergency,’ notes alex poots, the SHED’s artistic director and CEO. ‘spanning three-quarters of our building, saraceno’s exhibition explores ways of witnessing the environment through ecology, interspecies communication, and environmental justice. we very much look forward to welcoming audiences to experience this new show.’

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYCtomás saraceno, webs of at-tent(s)-ion, 2020 | image © designboom

 

 

for particular matter(s), new affiliates (see more here) advised on the design of the main gallery show on the second floor and the sequencing around the ‘sensory experience’ held in the mccourt. given the nature of saraceno’s works, which are typically viewed in black-out conditions with carefully calibrated lighting, and in conversation with the artist, the design produced a series of voids that were both easily navigable and facilitated a sense of disorientation. new affiliates designed a series of differently-scaled rooms that, while dark, still create a rhythm of expansion and contraction, of intimacy and openness.

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYCtomás saraceno, a thermodynamic imaginary, 2020 | photo nicholas knight © tomás saraceno studio

 

 

the works, varying from ethereal webs encased in massive vitrines to nearly imperceptible dust particles, occupy these rooms differently, from the single piece to the collection. the sequence around the main experience has a similar ‘otherworldly’ quality. for this, new affiliates laid out the waiting area (including seating, lockers, and circulation) in a series of circular arrangements meant to evoke a sense of collective, set in serene neo-futurism.

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYC

tomás saraceno, how to entangle the universe in a spider/web?, 2020, photo nicholas knight

 

 

this continued into the darkened scaffold-stair, with its dramatic ultra-thin lighting tracks that highlighted the structure as a familiar/unfamiliar environment preparing visitors for their time in the installation. the design, which was ultimately adapted as the content changed, established a tone to the exhibition that helped disorient the work from the pedestrian experience of the city outside and create a self-contained environment.

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYC
tomás saraceno, spider/web pavillion, 2019, la biennale di venezia: ‘may you live in interesting times.’, courtesy the artist; andersen’s, copenhagen; ruth benzacar, buenos aires; tanya bonakdar gallery, new york/los angeles; pinksummer contemporary art, genoa; neugerriemschneider, berlin

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYC
tomás saraceno, collage towards free the air: how to hear the universe in a spider/web, 2022, courtesy the artist

tiktokers are loving tomás saraceno's massive spider web installation in NYC
tomás saraceno, we do not all breathe the same air (detail), 2019-2022, with special thanks to harriet washington and the shed. courtesy the artist; andersen’s, copenhagen; ruth benzacar, buenos aires; tanya bonakdar gallery, new york/los angeles; pinksummer contemporary art, genoa; neugerriemschneider, berlin

https-theshed.orgprogram227-tomas-saraceno-particular-matters-large

spider silk acts as an active archive of particulate matter, its silvery strands thickening with carbon dust. courtesy tomás saraceno with thanks to arachnophilia

project info:

 

name: tomás saraceno: particular matter(s)

artist: tomás saraceno

location: the SHED

duration: february 11 – april 17, 2022

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