They look like Spider webs the webs of fine steel wires that already stretch tautly inside The Shed cultural center, in the High Line de Manhattan, on two levels located three and twelve meters above the floor. A kind of floating auditorium, destined to experience a “silent concert” and discover how other species communicate. From next Friday, visitors will be able to lie on the suspended net, in the dark, to perceive disturbing vibrations.
“It is not heard with the ear, it is felt with the whole body. It is an invitation to remember that some of us – let’s not say all of us, because there are a lot of communities and cultures that have never been forgotten – we have to be a little more cautious and raise awareness about life on this planet”, he tells LA NACION from New York Thomas Saraceno, the Tucuman artist based in Berlin who is riding the most important exhibition that has been carried out in the United States, about the installation titled Release the air: how to listen to the universe in a spider web.
A decade after surprising in the terrace of the Metropolitan Museum with one of his Cloud Cities will double the bet with Particular Matter(s), shows that it will cover three quarters of the 18,500 m2 building inaugurated in 2019. There it presented last year the spiders developed with augmented reality by the Acute Art application, which will arrive next Saturday at Proa Foundation. Different ways of trying to transform fear into love, or arachnophobia into arachnophilia.
Only the central piece will occupy the 5100 m2 of The McCourt, the imposing mobile structure designed by the studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Although it is similar to the work that Saraceno staged in 2013 at the K21 in Düsseldorf, it now adds vibrations with the intention of expanding the range of human perception.
“The most beautiful thing is being able to feel some of the vibrations of the arachnids that we recorded for many years,” explains the artist born in 1973, Trained as an architect at the UBA, which carried out interdisciplinary work with institutions such as MIT, NASA and the Max Planck Society. “We put microphones on the spider webs that manage to capture very low vibrations, which is how they communicate,” he adds. We have a very large archive of various species that touch these fabrics, which I like to think of as a kind of instrument-extension of their bodies”.
That file will be played over the steel webs, thanks to devices that will make them vibrate at very subtle frequencies, as the room darkens to reproduce the normal viewing range of web-weaving spiders. “The best thing is to always open your hands wide,” says Saraceno. Your body becomes an ear. Feeling something, perhaps one can become aware that the world is shared by many species, and that there are species that have different meanings”.
release the air will be exhibited until April 17 along with floating sculptures, interactive installations and collaborative projects -such as Aerocene, Arachnophilia and the Aerosol Museum, already presented at the Venice art and architecture biennials-, which propose non-polluting and respectful ways of inhabiting the planet diversity. In order to achieve a carbon free societyor promotes the use of “solar sculptures” such as Aerocene Pacha, with which he achieved 32 world records in the Jujuy salt flats in 2020; among them, the most sustainable flight in the history of mankind.
“At the heart of Saraceno’s work is a new way of inhabiting and experiencing the world, one that focuses on a ecological future post-fossil fuels,” observes Emma Enderby, chief curator of The Shed. Tomás presents the need to reevaluate how we perceive and operate in the world and what to expect from it, which he achieves through interconnected and non-hierarchical collaborations between the human and the non-human.
Like Somié, the people of Cameroon who still consult spiders as if they were an oracle -and who participate in the exhibition through the website Umbrella mount-, Saraceno recalls that “there are cultures that do not differentiate between the man and the nature like many western cultures that separate, that structure the form of knowledge through science, from the taxonomy of things”.
Another central axis of the exhibition, to which the title refers Particular Matter(s), puts the magnifying glass on “those very small particles that float in the air, that enter our blood system and that produce a much higher degree of mortality than the coronavirus”. In addition to illuminating them with projectors, as he did in his show at the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires in 2017, it will exhibit the result of a work carried out with academician Harriet A. Washington. titled We don’t all breathe the same air, highlights the degrees of pollution -and its relationship with “racial injustice”- in different cities in the United States.
In this way, with a consecrated exhibition in a city that came to displace Paris as the global capital of art, Saraceno hopes “to be able to bring a bit of esperanza to the world, which is collapsing faster and faster. show we can work together, in different ways. It is necessary and urgent.”