Tomás Saraceno's first permanent installation in southern Europe opens in Barcelona
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Tomás Saraceno's first permanent installation in southern Europe opens in Barcelona
Installation views of Cloud Cities Barcelona, 2022. Courtesy Studio Tomás Saraceno and Mirador torre Glòries. Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno © Tomás Saraceno.



BARCELONA.- Cloud Cities Barcelona, by artist Tomás Saraceno, invites participants into a space of communal encounter, discourse, and critical speculation, suspended at a height of over 130 meters over the city of Barcelona. Opening on May 20th, 2022, and housed in the 360° observation deck of Mirador Torre Glòries, it will be Saraceno’s first permanent interactive sculpture in southern Europe. The artwork occupies an area of 130m³ and is composed of 113 cloud spaces, like droplets of water condensing along the strands of a three-dimensional spider’s web, made of 5000 nodes connecting 6km of tensile cables.

Moving through the air at a height between 4 and 10m relative to the floor, or becoming enveloped by the atmosphere of the cupola’s apex, participants are offered a novel sensory experience, converting this observatory into a suspended realm from which to look inwards and outwards, to gather and dialogue, immersed in the multiplicity of worlds made manifest in the changing shapes of passing clouds. Wandering along paths of varying levels of complexity, participants can pause to find a rotating selection of books, in an invitation to inhabit shared time and consider alternative constellations of the urban public sphere, speculative architectures, the environmental crisis, and the entangled web of life.

For more than two decades, Saraceno has been imagining and activating a world free from fossil fuels, in collaboration with spiders and their webs, situated forms of knowledge, and with the vibrant superorganism that is the cosmic web, building an artistic practice of unprecedented variety and scale. Informed by the groundbreaking long-term research and curiosity of the international and interdisciplinary Aerocene and Arachnophilia communities, founded by Saraceno, Cloud Cities Barcelona invites participants into a porous cloudscape of tensions in suspension, to engage in collective critical reflections, activate zones of emergence, and reconsider worldwide networks of care.




In the midst of climate emergency, war, global pandemics, racial-ecocidal capitalism, social exclusion, and the proliferation of clouds of pollution and misinformation, Saraceno’s work addresses matters of environmental and social justice and envisions alternative ways of engaging with Earth’s atmosphere and interspecies ecology. Emerging from his long-standing artistic research "Cloud Cities", a proposal for a common imaginary for an ethical re-alliance with the environment, the planet, and the cosmic web beyond anthropocentrism, his cloud-shaped sculptures, reminiscent of the geometric Weaire-Phelan structure of foam and soap bubbles, act as an invitation to engage from diverse bearings, where there is neither up nor down, no inside or outside, and all is floating. As part of this series, Cloud Cities Barcelona challenges the verticality of the observatory’s distant gaze through alternative geometries of togetherness, so as to suspend social distances and collectively consider the multi-scalar threads of relation that weave our shared but threatened world and bind our interdependent fates.

From the artist

When clouds appear like rocks and towers, the Earth’s refreshed with frequent showers.
If spiders break off and remove their webs, the weather will soon be wet.
Stable climates might be granted if souls remain open to webbed encounters.

For millennia, humans have looked to the clouds and the behaviors of plants and animals to predict collective futures, finding messages hidden in their changing shapes and habits. Yet, in the context of the Capitalocene, the knowledge of entire ecosystems is being threatened and clouds are disappearing, replaced by toxic plumes of pollution and digital misinformation. Can an observatory in the 21st century, with its distant gaze, sense within and imagine something other than clouds in the shape of castles in the sky?

Like droplets of water condensing along the strands of a spider’s web, cosmic and terrestrial clouds form: Clouds of neighborhoods off gentrification; Stratocumulus entangled in webs of life; Cirrus threads of connection; Cumulus in extinction; Stratus is stillness in motion; Altostratus unlearn what we have learned; Clouds of spider/webs above Sagrada Família move from arachnophobia to Arachnophilia; Mama clouds to fall asleep; Altocumulus floats in the infinity of breath while Nimbuses are fish swimming in the air; Cloud dreams of fairer weathers…










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