Tomás Saraceno and the algorithms of infinite possibilities.

The installations by Tomás Saraceno have the anguish of the trap and the safety of the nest. The work of the Argentine artist, who lives and works in Berlin, is also inspired by the world of spiders. There are many species of arachnids and all of them have something in common: they are aggressive, lucid, agile and without mercy. Yet in Saraceno’s installations, one perceives pleasure and calm. This is also what happens in the exhibition Algo-r (h) i (y) thms on display at the Esther Schipper Gallery in Berlinfrom November 16 to December 21. The artist built a structure that recalls a web, made of ropes of various sizes. The visitors are invited to enter the network and diverge within it. When a visitor touches, plucks or even caresses the strings, thanks to the tiny microphones mounted on the different ropes, they produce frequencies similar to those of micro and macroscopic scientific phenomena: from reproducing the signal of courtship of spiders to the melodies of the electrons of galactic nebulae. When more people touch the strings, the huge spider web resounds with synchronicity.

Tomás Saraceno, 610 MHz (MACSJ2243.3-0935 / Radio Halo), 2018 Algo-r(h)i(y)thms, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2019 Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin Photo © Andrea Rossetti

The universe of spiders is further explored on the “Arachnophilia.net” website, a living comprehensive archive developed by his team at Studio Tomás Saraceno, and through the “Arachnomancy App” a digital tool used to not only interact with the Arachnomancy cards that were presented in the artist’s recent installation at the Venice Biennale but that has also the aim to collectively map spider extinction. Being deaf and often blind, arachnids interact with the surrounding world through vibrations transmitted by the movements of their web. Only on very rare occasions they communicate with other spiders. For example during mating, motherhood and, rarely, to share a prey. In general, the only contact they have is with the victim, even when this is another spider. That’s because they are also cannibals. Algo-r (h) i (y) thms, title of the exhibition, has an ambivalent meaning; the combination of the words in Greek refers to multiplicity, to the concept of entanglement in physics, and to a possible and harmonious coexistence of different elements; but an “algorithm” is also a mathematical procedure for simplifying a complex system. In some ways it is associated with a form of control of few over many. The term Algo-r (h) i (y) thms can also be intended as the union of the words some (Algo) + rhythms – meaning different and various rhythms to be played in an orchestra which is the universe reflected in the diverse sounds that are present in the installation of which the visitor is the maestro.

© Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2018 *
* Tomás Saraceno, Webs of At-tent(s)ion (detail), 2018, Installation view at ON AIR, carte blanche exhibition to Tomás Saraceno, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2018. Curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin.© Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2018

In Saraceno’s works, dimensions of the organic and inorganic, human and non-human coexist, building unpredictable rhythms and trajectories as in the On Airexhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel. Saraceno is also taking part in another project: Areocene, “an interdisciplinary artistic collaborative community that seeks to devise new ways of sensitivity, reactivating a common imagination towards an ethical collaboration with the environment and the atmosphere, free from carbon emissions”.

Tomás Saraceno, Aero(s)cene: When breath becomes air, when atmospheres become the movement for a post fossil fuel era against carbon-capitalist clouds, 2019
Installation view of Acqua Alta: En Clave de Sol, 2019 at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, titled May You Live In Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff.
Data livestream kindly provided by Centro Previsioni e Segnalazioni Maree, City of Venice.
Courtesy the artist; Aerocene Foundation; Andersen’s, Copenhagen; Ruth Benzacar, Buenos Aires; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
/ Los Angeles; Pinksummer Contemporary Art, Genoa; Esther Schipper, Berlin.
© Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2019

At the Venice Biennale 2019, May you live in interesting times, curated by Ralph Rugoff, two new installations presented in the Giardini and in the Gaggiandre of the Arsenale, offered a common space to exercise sensitivity towards the intertwining of all things; The Spider / Web Pavilion 7: Oracle Readings, Weaving Arachnomancy, Synanthropic Futures: At-ten (t) sion to invertebrate rights !, a room in which a series of webs float above tarot cards specifically made for the occasion. Aero(s)scene: When breath becomes air, when atmospheres become the movement for a post fossil fuel era against carbon-capitalist cloudsis an installation composed of a sculpture On the disappearance of clouds, and Acqua Alta en clave de Sol, a sound installation where the elements of water, earth, and air become an integral part of the work. 

Tomás Saraceno’s research reaches from biology to architecture,from art to astrophysics, adhering to an almost Renaissance idea of the art of universal knowledge. After studying art and architecture in Buenos Aires, Frankfurt am Main, and Venice, Saraceno settled in Frankfurt in 2005 and then moved to Berlin in 2012. His studio has a series of departments that deal with the research and development of various projects. Among others, Saraceno has also exhibited at the Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires (2017), at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016); and at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2011). What is most fascinating about Saraceno’s work is the possible coexistence of opposites and the construction of an agile and independent alternative system to our reality, which eludes the discomfort of confrontation, the evolutionary power of crisis as well as the betrayal of anguish.

Elda Oreto

Tomás Saraceno, Aero(s)cene: When breath becomes air, when atmospheres become the movement for a post fossil fuel era against carbon-capitalist clouds, 2019 Installation view of On the Disappearance of Clouds, 2019 at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, titled May You Live In Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff. Courtesy the artist; Aerocene Foundation; Andersen’s, Copenhagen; Ruth Benzacar, Buenos Aires; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles; Pinksummer Contemporary Art, Genoa; Esther Schipper, Berlin. © Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2019
Tomás Saraceno, Algo-r(h)i(y)thms, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2019 Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin Photo © Andrea Rossetti