Get your ideas flying!


by Martino Margheri

People who work in museums and cultural institutions are more than familiar with the endless timing involved in planning an exhibition. Whether it’s an exhibition of old master works or a monographic exhibition focusing on a leading contemporary artist, preliminary meetings can be held up to four years before it’s due to start. For the Tomás Saraceno. Aria exhibition, initial discussions with the artist and his studio began in 2017 and Saraceno conducted his first exploratory tour of Palazzo Strozzi in the autumn of 2018. Once a project’s broad outline has been defined, discussions get under way with all of the cultural institution’s various departments. The idea is to get the most out of the exhibition, to exploit its full potential by developing activities and strategies concerning every aspect of the work, from communication and promotion to educational projects.

Working with Tomás Saraceno offered us a major opportunity because his studio comprises so many different professional figures: architects, video makers, designers and layout planners who teamwork with the artist and help to breathe life into his vision. Amid the variety of the projects produced by Saraceno and the Aerocene Foundation set up in 2015, we identified experiences that would allow us to experiment with interesting educational formats we could propose to communication and design students to tie in with the Palazzo Strozzi exhibition.

This triggered a dialogue with IED Firenze (Istituto Europeo di Design) which rapidly turned into a substantive institutional partnership and a project entitled Museo Aero Solar with a select group of teachers and students. The Museo Aero Solar is a large flying sculpture made up solely of reused plastic bags. The project first saw the light of day in the course of a conversation between Tomás Saraceno and Alberto Pesavento in 2007, and it has been produced in a variety of formats in over twenty-one countries since then. The Museo Aero Solar embodies the vision of a future without pollution through the growth of the spontaneously created and geographically distant communities that take part in it.


Museo Aero Solar, photographies by Studio Tomás Saraceno, courtesy Aerocene Foundation

On that basis, we set ourselves the goal of involving Palazzo Strozzi’s visitors in the production of a major participatory project for Florence that would start by collecting plastic bags and end with an experimental flight in the Cascine park. But how should we go about doing that? What tools should we use to achieve that goal? What technical skills would we need to build a flying sculpture?

From Aerocene Journal

The most important thing to do first and foremost was to analyse the identity and characteristics of the Museo Aero Solar in Tomás Saraceno’s own artistic experience. An introductory lecture with the IED students allowed us to address both the project’s conceptual side and its technical requirements. The debate rapidly led us to the crucial question: how were we going to produce an Museo Aero Solar in a city? How should we communicate it? How could we involve people in the various phases?
We began to work on developing a single graphic style for postcards, flyers and posters for libraries, schools, universities and academies. The communication would need to convey three crucial aspects: acquainting people with the project, encouraging the collection of plastic bags and inviting people to the grand final assembly and flight workshop.


Communication development and design meeting with the students of IED Firenze

Using the same coordinated image, we worked on the design of a large container in which visitors to the exhibition would leave their plastic bags. While the students worked on producing all this material, we kept in constant touch with Tomás Saraceno’s studio to ensure compliance with their communication guidelines. The workshop at the Cascine park was to be the cherry on the cake, and so to make sure we were properly prepared for it we held a test-assembly of the bags in accordance with instructions received. We set up a tight network of interlinked activities coordinated by the Education Department in close cooperation with a highly motivated group of IED teachers and students.


Communication project of Museo Aero Solar and bag collector on display at Palazzo Strozzi

The exhibition had only just opened and the first plastic bags had begun to appear in the containers when Palazzo Strozzi entered lockdown like so many other exhibition centres all around the world.
So, was it good-bye to Museo Aero Solar? Yes, but only in its physical format.
Team planning meetings got under way again and we developed a new strategy. We thought it would be interesting to transform this new sense of belonging into an on-line project tailored to reflect the “age of social distancing”. In the same way as Palazzo Strozzi’s visitors would have contributed with their plastic bags to the formation of a community, each one could now make his or her contribution to the project with a thought or an image through this website page.
It all kicked off with this: What ideas do we have for the future? Let’s collect thoughts, let’s talk about it and get them flying in a metaphorical sense. You have a different viewpoint from up high and so it allows to find new solutions for our way of life.

The project was brought to life thanks to our collaboration with IED Firenze, the unflagging work of Alessandra Foschi who coordinates the Advertising Communication course, Cecilia Chiarantini who coordinates the Interior Design course, the precious advice and experience of lecturers Marco Innocenti, Luca Parenti and Francesco Toselli and a tremendous working team comprising their students Edoardo Bartoli, Fiamma Batini, Damiano Boragine, Sara Cabrini, Livia Ceccarelli, Lorenzo D’ Elia, Camilla Giachi, Serena Grazia, Eva Lazzeri, Davide Lichen Lu, Mariasole Monaci, Pietro Niccolini, Liliana Parlato, Alessio Pezzi, Davide Pisoni, Lisa Purini, Martina Oliva, Zössmayr Sebastian, Irene Spalletti, Taeko Shinjo, Eulalia Talamo, Luca Varricchio and Carlotta Zandon.

From the Anthropocene to the Aerocene

Aerocene Flights

by Martino Margheri and Caterina Taurelli Salimbeni

Anthropocene is a word that has been abundantly used in recent years as a title for exhibitions, films and publications, yet when it first appeared in a scientific capacity in the 1980s it failed to arouse a great deal of interest. Paul Crutzen, a Nobel prizewinner for chemistry and a leading student of the earth’s atmosphere, began to use it in his academic work, thus spawning its gradual adoption and dissemination.
Crutzen argued that human behaviour was altering the atmosphere and the earth’s crust to such an extent that man could be considered a geological agent in his own right. An analysis of the phenomenon required a definition capable of identifying this new geological era and so the term Anthropocene was born.
Now an accepted term that figures in the dictionary, Anthropocene means a recent era with a human footprint or, more extensively, it indicates the era characterised by the human species’ devastating impact on the planet. The causes can be traced back to our constant increase in hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and to our unbridled exploitation of the world’s natural resources.
There are various theories regarding the start of the Anthropocene but a majority within the scientific community agrees on the symbolic date of 16 July 1945, the day that saw the first ever atomic test at Alamogordo in New Mexico. From that moment on the air has undergone a growing contamination process whose impact we can see on the life of living beings today.

“We need to change our behaviour and to stop using the planet’s water and atmosphere as though they were a rubbish bin”.
interview with Paul Crutzen (TG2, 12/10/2006)

The Anthropocene is not an inevitability. We have shaped it with our own choices and our own actions. Palazzo Strozzi’s exhibition Tomás Saraceno. Aria takes its cue from an awareness of that fact, from a rethink of our way of acting, from the ability to observe phenomena from a different viewpoint and from the possibility of emerging from the Anthropocene by developing new ways of thinking.
Buckminster Fuller, an American architect and philosopher renowned for his experiments with geodesic structures who influenced Saraceno’s thought and work, argued that it is not possible to change things by fighting against existing reality. To change them, you have to build a new model that consigns that reality to obsolescence.

Tomás Saraceno’s art may be visionary and utopian in nature, but at the same time it is as pragmatic and as practical as Buckminster Fuller’s thought. Emerging from the Anthropocene and rediscovering a sense of harmony with planet Earth is more than just a philosophical aspiration, it is a fully-fledged project that is explicited in numerous ways. One of its most complex developments is the Aerocene: an interdisciplinary artistic community working on new expressions of ecological sensitivity with the aim of triggering ethical collaboration with the atmosphere and the environment for a new age free of fossil fuels.

As Saraceno says (in the interview you can find below):
“no one seems to be able to imagine that the heat provided by the sun could allow us to rise up from the earth and allow us to fly in the air. What could we become with a direct relationship with the Sun and the wind, and what society could we prove capable of developing if we envisage different models of mobility?”

Tomás Saraceno x Aerocene, Aerocene Archive(s), 2020. Video, 1’48” (colour, stereo, HD 1080p, 16:9)
Film by Aerocene Community, produced by Studio Tomás Saraceno in collaboration with Art/Beats, Courtesy the artist and Aerocene Foundation

These questions have found a practical answer in the activities of Aerocene which organises the launch of aerosolar sculptures capable of flying thanks to the heat of the Sun and to the infrared radiations emitted by the Earth’s surface: no engines, no batteries, no fuel, no exploitation of resources, only the planet’s own energy. The community’s commitment has consolidated over the past five years and launches have taken place all over the world, while aerosolar sculptures have been designed with a variety of different features: some can be flown like kites, some can travel freely from one city to another by following the course of the winds, and there is even a version capable of lifting a person to a height of over 200 metres and moving him or her over a distance of almost two kilometres.
Men and women have always dreamed of flying and the Aerocene community is succeeding in that undertaking by resorting to forms of energy that promote environmental awareness and preserve the air that we all breathe.


Aerocene Explorer launch. August 7, 2017, Salinas Grandes, Jujuy, Argentina
With the support of CCK Buenos Aires, Courtesy the Aerocene Foundation e CCK Agency, Photography Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2017

To achieve these goals, in 2015 Tomás Saraceno created the Aerocene Foundation which works in close cooperation with an international community of scientists and activists. Prior to that, in 2012, the artist turned to researchers with the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) in an effort to find an answer to one ot his (seemingly utopian) questions: “Is it possible to fly around the world using the sun as one’s sole source of energy?”
That encounter was to spawn the Aerocene Float, a tool that analyses wind currents and maps out flight paths. A new resource recently perfected by the Aerocene community is the Float Predictor App. This application, available for iOS and Android, performs multiple functions: it allows you to simulate aerosolar sculptures’ virtual flight paths without any CO2 emissions, using freely available meteorological data; it allows you to visualise the Aerocene community’s tentacular presence throughout the world; and it allows you to see the various different kinds of aerosolar sculptures, where they have flown over the years and where the largest numbers of them may be found.
The message is clear: we are a numerous community open to cooperation and bent on changing both the way people move and their relationship with the planet, Technology offers us the opportunity to interact with others and to strengthen our projects in perfect DIT (Do it Togehter) spirit.


Aerocene App (2020) has been developed by Aerocene Foundation in collaboration with Studio Tomás Saraceno.
Courtesy Aerocene Foundation

“Doing it together” was also the driving force behind the cooperation between the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Manifattura Tabacchi. The Manifattura has shown its support for the Tomás Saraceno exhibition by hosting a selection of videos, publications, materials and workshops devoted to exploring the Aerocene philosophy in some depth.
Sustainability, the relationship between man and nature and the construction of the community and of alternative forms of living and of interaction are crucial themes to which the Manifattura Tabacchi is not only sensitive but to which it has entrusted the construction of experimental and innovative forms for the production and enjoyment of art. The link with Tomás Saraceno’s work is confirmed not only in these themes but also in its subscription to the process of overcoming barriers, of audience involvement and of the integration of different disciplines both inside and outside the world of art.

The Manifattura Tabacchi is a large factory built in the western suburbs of Florence in the 1930s and decommissioned in 2001, which now lies at the heart of an ambitious urban regeneration scheme aiming to breathe life into a new city neighbourhood enlivened by a centre for contemporary culture and art complementary to the historical city centre, open to the region and connected to the world. The interdisciplinary art project currently comprising residences for artists, independent spaces, festivals and workshops, is the ideal setting for cooperation between the Manifattura Tabacchi and the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi.


Manifattura Tabacchi aerial view. Photography by Marco Zanta

The chimney courtyard, overlooked by the two buildings converted for temporary use, leads into an area for study, recollection and observation designed and laid out under Tomás Saraceno’s watchful gaze. One’s attention is immediately drawn to the Aerocene Explorer Backpack: a starter kit designed to be worn like a backpack containing everything required for an aerosolar sculpture’s flight experience.


Aerocene Backpack, 2016-on going. Exhibition view, Manifattura Tabacchi. Photography by Alessandro Fibbi


Aerocene publications. Exhibition view, Manifattura Tabacchi. Photography by Alessandro Fibbi

The wall hosts a reproduction of the Aerocene Manifesto that attracts “the attention of all those who hold the atmosphere dear”; the text states that it sees “space as a commonly-owned, physical and imaginary area free from the control of large corporations and from government surveillance. Aerocene promotes free access to the atmosphere, unregulated by tight security measures, It is a proposal, a stage in the air, on the air, for the air and with the air”.
The Manifesto, a political and ethical statement, is the starting point for all the community’s projects. The materials on display at the Manifattura Tabacchi include the possibility of consulting a broad range of publications illustrating the myriad different aspects of Aerocene’s projects.
The discovery tour continues in a screening room where you can immerse yourself in a selection of videos and documentaries on the artist and imagine personally living the flight experiences that you have read about in the publications.
Your gaze tracks children, adults, senior citizens and entire communities as they the aerosolar sculptures together in some of the most fascinating places on Earth. These evocative images cannot help but remind us of the wonders of the world we live in and of the beauty involved in taking care not only of nature but also of people.

At 18.30 on 13 May Facebook pages of Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and Manifattura Tabacchi will be hosting a conversation between artist Tomás Saraceno, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi General Director Arturo Galansino (Direttore Generale, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi), LINV International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology Director Stefano Mancuso and Lisa Signorile (biologist and scientific journalist), focusing on art, nature and the collective effort to rethink our way of living and of interacting with the planet.

Let us allow the cobweb to guide us


To understand the world of Tomás Saraceno you need to enter the world of spiders and their webs, Thanks to the Arachnomancy App and to individual readings of Archnomancy Cards, we can commune with the non-humans so dear to this artist and thereby interact in a virtual manner with the Tomás Saraceno. Aria exhibition.


Tomás Saraceno, Webs of At-tent(s)ion (detail), 2020. Installation view of Aria
Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020
© Photography by Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio

The fascination that arcachnids hold for Tomás Saraceno dates back to his childhood, when he perceived their presence as beings of equal importance in his home in Italy. This awareness that he was inhabting a shared environment prompted the artist to ask himself: “Do these spiders live in my house, or am I the one living in the spiders’ house?” And just like spiders, which emit vibrations through their web to connect with the reality all around them, so Saraceno’s work acts as a tool allowing us to perceive phenomena that lie outside our senses. Thus Saraceno has transformed Palazzo Strozzi into a space for imagination and participation in his determination to overcome our anthropocentric ideology and to extol the values of diversity, cooperation and interconnection. He invites us all to tune in to non-human voices which join with ours through endless networks of connection and disconnection in an exhibition that defies the hierarchical norm of the tree of life, proposing in its stead a network of life that highlights the interaction among different species and different worlds.

The exhibition in Palazzo Strozzi unfolds around a set of thirty-three Arachnomancy Cards designed by the artist as metaphors of the links between everything that exists in nature, whether living or otherwise. Each room in the Palazzo Strozzi exhibition is associated with a card that performs the role of a herald linking the content in each space, creating unexpected connections between seemingly distant elements, while another, smaller room is devoted to the complete series of thirty-three cards.


Tomás Saraceno, Arachnomancy Cards, 2020. Installation view of Aria
Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze, 2020
© Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

In the context of the current ecological crisis known as the Sixth Mass Extinction, invertebrates such as arachnids and insects are fast disappearing, and their disappearance is having a serious impact on the environment and on ecosystems. While invertebrates account for over 95 percent of all animal species, an overwhelming majority of countries have no guidelines or national regulations safeguarding non-human rights. So it is imperative that we tune in to the non-human voices that join with ours in endless networks of connectivity and disconnectivity and that we recognise their vibrating voices.


Cobwebs in Palazzo Strozzi
© Photography by Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio

There are two ways that we can connect with spiders and consult their cobweb oracle. The first tool enabling us to do this is the Arachnomancy App (available for iOS and Android), an application developed by the Studio Tomás Saraceno allowing you to consult the oracle at any time and in any place, joining a mapping initiative against extinction and creating a network interconnecting real cobwebs throughout the world. Once you have downloaed the App, you photograph a cobweb (there are plenty in your house, even though they may not be immediately apparent!) and take part in a collective exercise that has been christened Mapping Against Extinction.

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Studio Tomás Saraceno, Arachnomancy App
© Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2019

If you complete this small mission, you can unlock the individual cards required to consult the spider’s web oracle, devoting your energy to forms of knowledge that echo the methods of divination practised in various parts of the world. For instance, the Mambila people in Cameroon use divining cards made of the stiff leaves or bark of the rafia tree with ideograms cut out for the practice of nggám, the divination of the acts of a spider. A spider that lives in the area is asked questions, the anwers to which are communicated through the movement of these cards. The spider’s powers of divination come from its sensoral universe: its highly developed vibrational senses allow it to enter onto the wavelength of a symphony of biotic and abiotic tremors, a form of knowledge that we humans are incapable of perceiving. This also happens with the vibration of a normal mobile telephone. You can further explore this and other themes that Saraceno and his studio have probed in depth, on the website


Divining cards for practising nggám or spider divination

You can also consult the oracle by individually reading the Arachnomancy Cards. Each one of the thirty-three cards comprises a storehouse of meanings, the interpretation of which can open up your vision to your experience of life. Gestalt psychotherapist Dr. Gianmarco Meucci will be holding readings lasting fifteen minutes each using the Zoom videoconferecing app on Thursday 30 April from 18.00 to 20.00 and on Satuday 2 May from 15.00 to 17.00. The sessions, held in Italian only, are free of charge and may be booked on Eventbrite. Only a limited number of places are available, but this is a unique opportunity for you to tune in to our reality and the universe of which we are a part.

Cover illustration: Tomás Saraceno, Arachnomancy Cards, 2019 (detail). 58th International Art Exhibition – The Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy. Courtesy the artist. © Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2019.

Tomás Saraceno: Reducing our movement


Tomás Saraceno takes directly part to the project IN TOUCH with an exclusive video-message. Starting from the description of one of his artworks, Particular Matter(s) Jam Session, the artist invites us to reflect in a new way on ideas like sharing, awareness and solidariety.

“Our movement influences how fast or slow particles drift through the air. Reducing our movement, and slowing the particles will help everyone to stay safe. In solidarity with Palazzo Strozzi, Italy and the World, let’s move differently for better times.” (Tomás Saraceno)


Hello, my name is Tomas Saraceno. And I want to talk about an artwork which is exhibited at Palazzo Strozzi. It is an artwork that consists of a light beam, that illuminates what is floating today through the air. There are millions and billions of particles that move and their movement depends on how we move.
If for example, I talk very close… or I move, some of the particles in my pullover… you can see these particles are released into the air. And if I talk a little bit further from it these particles start to move much more slowly.
What you hear, in Palazzo Strozzi – you what you can hear now this video – is the sound these particles produce when they move. That means every time that I move faster, you can hear the sound moving faster. It’s this “beep beep beep”… If we move slower, the particles produce a different sound. This means it is a way to sonify the way how we are moving through the earth or the movement of particles into the air. This means, if in this time we need to move slower, the sound would be different and the particles will move slower. This means in solidarity for all the people in Italy, in Europe and in the world.
We hope we can become conscious about our actions. How the air it moves today and how much our movement can influence the way… Of how also we can restrict this movement of some of the particles that became so harmful for many people today on the planet earth.


Tomás Saraceno, Particular Matter(s), 2020. Installation view of Aria, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020. © Photography by Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio

A visionary artist whose multidisciplinary practice encompasses art, social and life sciences, Tomás Saraceno (Argentina, 1973) creates immersive works and participatory experiences that suggest a new way of living in our world by forging connections with such non-human phenomena as spiders, dust particles and plants, which become players in his works and metaphors of the universe. As his work unfolds along a path from the courtyard to the exhibition halls of Palazzo Strozzi, Saraceno interacts with the historical context by creating an original dialogue between the Renaissance and the contemporary world – a shift from the idea of ‘man at the centre of the world’ to the concept of ‘man as part of a universe’ in which a new harmony can be sought.

A Manifesto for the Future: Thermodynamic Constellation


by Arturo Galansino

Even though the Tomás Saraceno. Aria exhibition has been closed for some days now, you can still visit the Palazzo Strozzi courtyard, an area that has become in recent years a fully-fledged public space, a piazza in the heart of Florence currently hosting a major installtion that Tomás Saraceno designed and produced expressly for Palazzo Strozzi, entitled Thermodynamic Constellation.



Tomás Saraceno, Thermodynamic Constellation, 2020. Installation view of Aria, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020. © Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno


Thermodynamic Constellation is a manifesto for the future, possibly even more so today for people seeing it through Palazzo Strozzi’s open doors or in the countless images of it that are circulating in the social media. The spheres of which the installation is comprised, interconnected with one another in a state of mutual tension, are prototypes of real aerosolar balloons capable of floating in the atmosphere without the use of fossil fuels. The upper, mirror part reflects the sun’s radiation, thus preventing overheating during flight in daylight hours, while the lower, transparent part helps to keep the temperature inside the capsule stable during night flight by absorbing the heat of the planet that provides the aerostatic thrust. The work is not based only on artistic research but also on a scientific study of the materials and laws of physics that should govern this kind of dance of the spheres in the air. In 2014 and 2015 Tomás Saraceno was the resident artist at the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (National Centre for Space Studies – CNES) in France, where he had a chance to explore the characteristics and qualities of specific materials used in the aerospace industry.



Tomás Saraceno, Thermodynamic Constellation, 2020. Installation view of Aria, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020. © Photography by Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio


The installation combines a profound ethical message with an enthralling experience. Tomás Saraceno’s ability to master space has led to the creation of an artwork that interprets Palazzo Strozzi’s architecture in an intriguing manner, dialoguing with one of the loftiest examples of Renaissance culture. This, because the mirror part of the spheres not only forges a sense of community by reflecting our own image, it also allows us to observe the palazzo‘s symmetrical 15th century architecture with new eyes, to see it distorted in a Baroque anamorphosis that changes as the hours of the day go by. So today too, from a distance, the spheres can be a space for conceptual collective participation in which visions and physicality forge a powerful bond.



Tomás Saraceno, Thermodynamic Constellation, 2020. Installation view of Aria, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020. © Photography by Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio


The flying sculptures that make up Thermodynamic Constellation explore the kind of socio-political structures that might come into being if only we could freely surf the rivers of the atmosphere in a new era of harmony with the air and with the atmosphere: the Aerocene. Tomás Saraceno has launched a vision of Homo Flotans, a new generation of man as nomad of the air on the same wavelength as the rhythm of the planets and the atmosphere, allowing himself to be both conceptually and physically guided by the air.

This artwork, in which everything fluctuates and is reflected, urging us to move in a new way, is a port open to the sky. In forging a link with the problems of our contemporary world, of which the current emergencies are both a symptom and a consequence, Thermodynamic Constellation embodies a proposal, or a challenge, for a different future.



Tomás Saraceno, Thermodynamic Constellation, 2020. Installation view of Aria, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020. © Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

Like in a Spiderweb


by Arturo Galansino

Palazzo Strozzi, like any cultural institution that wants to speak to its own time, is committed to dealing with the most relevant issues of the present. Each contemporary art exhibition thus, becomes an opportunity to investigate the world in which we live through the sensitive gaze of the artists.

The exhibition Tomás Saraceno. Aria presents a series of imaginary and utopian ‘futures’ throughout our exhibition spaces – at once hypothetical and extremely true and present. These visions are of harmony and balance, a world in which connections are clear and  cooperation is necessary.

Today, in light of the situation we are experiencing, the artist’s installations speak to us with an even greater strength and heightened awareness, their messages echoing through the empty rooms.

This moment of emergency leads us to reflect on our lifestyle, on the weight of our actions and on the fragility of our world. We are immersed in a hyper-connected reality, virtually and physically, and if we were to visualise our connections and social interactions or the routes of our movements we could effectively think about the image of a spider web. We are so much part of this structure that we do not even realize it, and we open our eyes only when it is threatened or runs the risk of breaking.

Today it becomes very clear that the hyperconnection and hypermobility associated with individualism have played a significant role in aggravating the situation we are experiencing.



Tomás Saraceno, Aerographies (detail), 2020. Installation view of Aria, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020. © Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno, Webs of At-tent(s)ion (detail), 2020. Installation view of Aria, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020. © Photography by Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio


According to the famous “butterfly effect”, coined in 1962 by the mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz, the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can cause a tornado in Texas. In more concrete terms, a small action can reverberate and cause far greater effects. So let’s think about the vibration of a thread, a simple touch. When this is connected to a larger structure, the whole system can vibrate, oscillate, break. If connections are threatened in any way, the damages to the entire complex can be enormous.

How can you exist in a balanced way in this hyper-connected reality? How can risks can be limited? The path indicated by Tomás Saraceno is one of harmony. In whatever future we want to live in, we humans must learn to live symbiotically with all other beings, living and non-living, human and non-human. The search for a dynamic balance must become our goal, our reason for being. To achieve this, it is necessary to cooperate, making individual gestures and actions that don’t betray the common good but move in a mutually beneficial, collective direction.

Some events can disturb the balance, threatening our world. In these cases everyone is responsible for helping to maintain the balance. Every action causes a reaction, be it good or bad. As in a close-knit orchestra, when each musician plays their part, the result is harmony: a unitary response made up of many individuals, distinct but united.

We have to be aware of our behaviors, our relationships, our movements, and the consequences they can have on others. This awareness must take place not only for our individual good, but for the good of everyone.

As in a spider web, we are small knots, part of an infinitely larger twine in which, through a chain of actions and reactions, each of our gestures makes the entire system vibrate. We must be conscious, and capable, of making it resonate in the most harmonious way possible. We must become a harmonious network in which each individual is an essential part.



Tomás Saraceno, Connectome (detail), 2020. Installation view of Aria, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2020. © Photography by Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio


In the coming weeks we will continue to champion these visions of a possible future reality outlined by Tomás Saraceno. We will do it in new ways, at a distance, hoping to stimulate a moment of reflection through the language we know best, that of art.



«Lamps and lightbulbs as allies in daily hunting,
bridging lifeways in entangled dependency.
Nature seems to elect relationships rather
than individuals, nothing makes itself alone.
Ask yourself how many multitudes you contain.»

SYM(BIO)POETICS: Card n.3 Arachnomancy



Tomás Saraceno, Arachnomancy Cards, 2019
Courtesy the artist. © Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2019