tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries

Serpentine presents Tomás Saraceno’s Web(s) of Life

 

From now until September 10, 2023, Serpentine South Gallery will host ‘Web(s) of Life’, the first major exhibition in the UK by multimedia artist Tomás Saraceno. In an era where technology is developing at a rapid pace, the Argentinian artist points out the urgency to react to the environmental crisis placing the viewer into non-human perspectives. ‘Constantly alive’, the show invites spectators to reflect on the significant impacts of local actions, digital memory, and consumer capitalism, pushing the priorities toward a more sustainable future.

 

Through Web(s) of Life, Saraceno poses a series of questions without necessarily expecting answers but instead initiating an inner dialogue for self-reflection, giving onlookers food for thought: In the context of the environmental crisis and the need for a just, eco-social, energy transition, can techno-diversity and biodiversity interact differently? Can systems of power move beyond the inequalities of capitalism and the reproduction of neocolonial extractivism of minerals and data? Can the privilege of digital memories over ancestral memories be overcome? Enter the spider’s dream, a space with codes of another ritual… It is high time some of us change our habits and not the climate!’

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
Cloud Cities: Species of Spaces and Other Pieces*, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

 

 

Opposing the climate emergency

 

The Serpentine exhibition encourages visitors to assess different forms of knowledge and reconsider how life forms, extractive technologies, and energy regimes are directly linked to the climate emergency. Web(s) of Life is a striking body of work made by the Berlin-based artist, and collaborators, among them the interspecies communities of Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc, Argentina, Somié, Cameroon, Aerocene, Arachnophilia, and the Royal Parks.

 

The infrastructure of the Serpentine will transform to acclimate animals and plants and welcome humans of all ages. 

The equipment used in the basement to control the temperature and humidity will be switched off, while the color and the hanging height of the artworks in the gallery space will be adapted to accommodate animal, insect, and arachnid sensitivities. Apart from these modifications, the size and accessibility of openings and windows will be adjusted to encourage the movement of living organisms and air.

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
Cloud Cities: Species of Spaces and Other Pieces*, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

 

Throughout the gallery, visitors will encounter spiders creating their webbed pavilions. Outside the venue, interactive sculptures will engage them with the park’s rich biodiversity, including birds, insects, foxes, ducks, and other species. For Saraceno, close observation of spiders is a source of wonder and inspiration. This intricate architecture of webs and their manifold behaviors ‘entangle us in various cultural perceptions, myths, and symbio-poetic relationships, to move from arachnophobia to arachnophilia, towards alternative digital webs.’

 

Alongside the immersive experience of web installations, participants will be invited to log on to ‘a web portal for an ancient ritual of spider divination that local diviner Bollo Pierre Tadios asked Saraceno to build when he visited Somit\ Cameroon in 2019’. This ongoing project has been developed with Arachnophilia, an interdisciplinary, research-driven community of humans, spiders, and their webs, initiated by Saraceno.

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
Cloud Cities: Species of Spaces and Other Pieces*, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

 

‘We’re honoured to partner with The Royal Parks to extend Tomas Saraceno’s exhibition beyond the walls of the Serpentine South Gallery and into Kensington Gardens. The most ambitious show in the UK to date by the Argentine artist, Saraceno will put his decades of research bridging the natural sciences and visual culture into action as a fully participatory creative intervention that is as alive as the audiences it touches. Saraceno is moved by a desire to raise awareness on the climate emergency through practical solutions, and by activating the natural setting that surrounds us, this partnership promises to deliver on Serpentine’s mission of building new connections between artist and society,’ mentioned Bettina Korek, CEO, Serpentine, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine.

 

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
In the shadows, 2023, & Cloud Cities: Species of Spaces and Other Pieces*, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

 

Visitors will be invited to hand in their mobile phones voluntarily, immersing themselves in an audio-visual experience. A spectacular filmic installation will mark ‘the continuation of a long-standing relationship between the environmental artivism community Aerocene, also founded by Saraceno, the communities of the Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc basin, in Jujuy, Argentina, and other environmental collectives,’  stated in the press release. ‘The communities are fighting to protect their lands against lithium extraction, as the ‘green rush’ to mine the mineral commonly used in phone batteries is polluting and reducing one of the ecology’s scarcest resources: water.’

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The birds will keep calling you, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
The birds will keep calling you, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
ArachnoAnacróArcano, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
Cloud Imagination, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
World(ing)WideWeb(s).Life, 2023. Installation view at Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life, Serpentine, London, 2023. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno 

tomas-saraceno-serpentine-webs-of-life-exhibition-designboom-21800

Installation view of Spider/Web Pavilion 7: Oracle Readings, Weaving Arachnomancy, Synanthropic Futures: At-ten(t)sion to invertebrate rights!, 2019, at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, titled May You Live In Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff. Courtesy the artist Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

tomás saraceno's 'web(s) of life' addresses the climate emergency at the serpentine galleries
Portrait of Tomás Saraceno by Photography by Dario J Laganà

 

 

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On the 25th of January 2020, 32 world records, recognized by FAI were set by Aerocene with Leticia Noemi Marques, flying with the message ‘Water and Life are Worth More than Lithium’ written with the communities of Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc, Jujuy, Argentina. This marks the most sustainable flight in human history. Fly with Aerocene Pacha, a project by Tomás Saraceno for an Aerocene era, was produced by the Aerocene Foundation and Studio Tomás Saraceno. Supported by Connect, BTS, curated by DaeHyung Lee
On the 25th of January 2020, 32 world records, recognized by FAI were set by Aerocene with Leticia Noemi Marques, flying with the message ‘Water and Life are Worth More than Lithium’ written with the communities of Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc, Jujuy, Argentina. This marks the most sustainable flight in human history. Fly with Aerocene Pacha, a project by Tomás Saraceno for an Aerocene era, was produced by the Aerocene Foundation and Studio Tomás Saraceno. Supported by Connect, BTS, curated by DaeHyung Lee
Members of the Indigenous Communities of Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc defend their land against lithium extraction during the Fly with Aerocene Pacha project in January 2020. The signs read: ‘Let’s take care of Pachamama…’; ‘We are against the destruction of one of Argentina’s 7 wonders. Salinas Grandes’; ‘No to lithium, yes to water and life’ Courtesy of the Aerocene Foundation. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno
Members of the Indigenous Communities of Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc defend their land against lithium extraction during the Fly with Aerocene Pacha project in January 2020. The signs read: ‘Let’s take care of Pachamama…’; ‘We are against the destruction of one of Argentina’s 7 wonders. Salinas Grandes’; ‘No to lithium, yes to water and life’ Courtesy of the Aerocene Foundation. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno
On the 25th of January 2020, 32 world records, recognized by FAI were set by Aerocene with Leticia Noemi Marques, flying with the message ‘Water and Life are Worth More than Lithium’ written with the communities of Salinas Grandes, Jujuy, Argentina. This marks the most sustainable flight in human history. Fly with Aerocene Pacha, a project by Tomás Saraceno for an Aerocene era, was produced by the Aerocene Foundation and Studio Tomás Saraceno. Supported by Connect, BTS, curated by DaeHyung Lee
On the 25th of January 2020, 32 world records, recognized by FAI were set by Aerocene with Leticia Noemi Marques, flying with the message ‘Water and Life are Worth More than Lithium’ written with the communities of Salinas Grandes, Jujuy, Argentina. This marks the most sustainable flight in human history. Fly with Aerocene Pacha, a project by Tomás Saraceno for an Aerocene era, was produced by the Aerocene Foundation and Studio Tomás Saraceno. Supported by Connect, BTS, curated by DaeHyung Lee
Spider diviner Bollo Pierre Tadios and the spider’s arrangement of leaf-cards during a ‘nggàm dù’ divination, 2019 Nggamdu.org is a project by diviners in the village of Somié, Cameroon
Spider diviner Bollo Pierre Tadios and the spider’s arrangement of leaf-cards during a ‘nggàm dù’ divination, 2019 Nggamdu.org is a project by diviners in the village of Somié, Cameroon

project info:

 

exhibition name: Web(s) of Life

artist: Tomas Saraceno | ©studiotomassaraceno

venue: Serpentine Galleries, The Royal Parks | @serpentineuk

dates: June 1 – September 10, 2023

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