Aerosolar Journeys presents the project Aerocene, the age of air. Aerocene is an experimental, open-source, multi-disciplinary project that foregrounds the artistic and scientific exploration of environmental issues. In the wake of the Anthropocene, the project promotes common links between social, mental and environmental ecologies. It involves the prototyping of a wide variety of sculptures that float entirely without fossil fuels, gas or solar cells – inflated only by the air, lifted only by the sun, carried only by the wind towards clean and sustainable futures.
To aero-float is to travel in the air without burning fossil fuels, without using solar panels or batteries, and without rare gases. Aerocene holds a message of creativity and cooperation for a world of tumultuous geopolitical relations, reminding us of our symbiotic relationship with the Earth and all its species.
Alongside multiple fascinating sculptural visions, the exhibition shows the beginnings of the Aerocene research, namely Museo Aero Solar (2007–present) an airborne form made solely from reused plastic bags. What began from the premise of a collection has unfolded to be an urgently necessary investigation on coexistence, aeronautics, and architecture, aimed to rethink the way we navigate new territories and venture beyond the rules of gravity. In a fascinating use of the platform of the museum, Museo Aero Solar shows how a collective project can emerge from individual acts, and potentially retake a polluting product and transform it into a mind-expanding material.
Saraceno focuses on considering alternative life models that propose a more sustainable relation to the environment. Through a series of sculptures, objects and installations, Aerosolar Journeys presents the results of a long-term research project conducted through interdisciplinary collaborations with institutions and individuals all over the world.
“Air design is the technological response to the phenomenological insight that human being-in-the-world is always and without exception present as a modification of beingin- the-air.”
(Peter Sloterdijk, 2009)
¨… A carrier bike, which can be borrowed, facilitates the transport of the sculpture and contains as well a weather station, a tracking computer and a radio. A ventilator connected to the bike’s back wheel allows, through pedalling, for the inflation of the sculpture to facilitate its take-off. This aerosolar sharing kit will allow people to practice their own performative aerosolar flights and learn how to sense the weather and the energies that always already surround us. Following the exhibition at 21er Haus, the kit will be freely accessible to a broader public. This principle of sharing economy is one of the cores of Becoming Aerosolar—a performative artistic project —that questions and goes beyond the very definitions of authorship and representation in current times of ecological crisis… The exhibition at the 21er Haus does more than simply present the results of Becoming Aerosolar in a series of objects: it also allows visitors to experience the endeavor’s cooperative spirit in workshops, where they can build aerosolar sculptures by following simple plans. Cameras are even available on loan so that participants can create their own aerial photographs. With great enthusiasm for experimentation, these activities engender an awareness of paths toward sustainable coexistence—ensuring that Tomás Saraceno’s visions of air and light will not remain without consequence.”
(Agnes Husslein-Arco, Foreword of Becoming Aerosolar, 2015)
“Becoming Aerosolar is an infrastructural experiment of polities above and beyond the lines of demarcated territories. Let’s admit that there is nothing naïve about such a proposal: the construction of aerosolar polities is an experimental activity that recognizes the pain of the Earth, the struggles of its inhabitants, and the complexity of territorial politics; it is precisely through this recognition that the work of Becoming Aerosolar begins to unfold. Those with whom we struggle to create new worlds know as we do that experimenting with the thresholds of inhabitation is not turning our back on anything, and that the real escapists are those who think we should just carry on with our art fairs and biennials.”
(Etienne Turpin, Aerosolar Infrastructure:Polities Above & Beyond Territory, in Becoming Aerosolar, 2015)
The Aerocene Explorer is a tethered-flight starter kit, which enables anyone to personally launch their own Aerocene solar sculpture and start exploring the skies. A tactile and engaging way to experience the Aerocene, the Explorer allows participants to take aerial photographs and videos and to collect atmospheric data using non-intrusive, emissions-free scientific exploration tools that measure air quality, temperature, humidity, and pressure. Read more here
Float Predictor is a tool to forecast the trajectory of Aerocene sculptures ahead of launching. Shown are 6-hour tracks for floating sculptures, computed using the 16 day wind forecast data from the US NOAA Global Forecast System.
Trajectory computations and visualizations by Glenn Flierl, Lodovica Illari, Bill McKenna of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in collaboration with Tomás Saraceno, Visiting Artist at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST).