Solar Bell is the final project in a series of artworks created to accompany the expansion of the port of Rotterdam with the construction of Maasvlakte 2 in the Netherlands (2012). Tomás Saraceno shares his dreams of a utopian new land, not reclaimed from the sea, but from gravity itself. Solar Bell is a flying sculpture that is built using the latest technologies in the field of lightweight materials and sustainable energy technologies. Its design is based on the modular tetrahedron, or four-sided pyramid, invented by Alexander Graham Bell during his early investigations into manned flight. Bell made important discoveries in the field of aviation and frame construction, and happened upon the strongest geometrical structure in the known cosmos, the octet truss. This was the same space frame that Buckminster Fuller later followed in his Geodesic Dome. Saraceno further expands on Bell’s legacy by incorporating an innovative use of lightweight materials.
Flying sculpture installations include, among others, “Ring Bell – the solar orchestra and the wind structures”, exhibited at Emscherkunst, Essen (Germany, 2013), and “Solar Bell Ensemble”, presented at CAC – Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (USA, 2015- 2016).
“Tomás Saraceno’s work defies traditional notions of space, time, gravity, consciousness and perception through architectural, social and communitarian means that are utopian and participatory in nature. The sky and the earth are interchangeable in his installations, in which gardens float and people achieve their longstanding desire to float freely. Inspired by an interest in affecting change in the way we live and experience reality, each work is an invitation to conceive of alternative ways of knowing, feeling and interacting with others. Above all, the works show us that the possibility to transform the world is always within reach for those who are ready to collaborate in its design and construction. The work of Tomás Saraceno is perhaps the set of tools that we were missing.”