This is a flying museum and a solar sculpture made by the “Museo Aero Solar” group –an open-source international community, initiated 8 years ago by Tomás Saraceno in conversation with Alberto Pesavento, inviting everybody to take part and to turn used plastic bags to lighter-than-air sculptures. Museo Aero Solar (2007–present) is 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. The resulting collection―which includes more than 20,000 plastic bags culled from countries including Colombia, Cuba, France, Germany, Italy, Palestine, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States, among others—brings forward an insistence to grasp the sun.
In the first solo exhibition in Austria at the 21er Haus, Becoming Aerosolar, Saraceno’s art focuses on considering alternative life models that propose a more sustainable treatment of the environment. Through a series of sculptures, objects and installations, the show presents the results of a long-term research project conducted through the interdisciplinary collaboration with institutions and individuals all over the world. Furthermore, the public was invited to participate in the construction of aerosolar sculptures during the course of the exhibition.
“Tomás Saraceno has managed to produce a work of art that is collaborative, cheap, transportable, stunningly beautiful, as thin as air, as light as plastic, reusable and on which everyone, from any country, may write whatever expresses his or her feelings: when the sun begins to heat up the inside of this shapeless bag of bags, suddenly it becomes a miraculous air ship transporting this collective citizen expression anywhere in the world—at least as long as the sun last and the wind doesnt blow it away.”
(Bruno Latour in Becoming Aerosolar, 2015)
¨… 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)
“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)
“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)