Artist, Studio Tomás Saraceno
Breaking the Wall Between Earth and Sky. How Art Challenges Gravity and Light in Our Habitat
Well, thank you. I am very pleased to be here. I basically have a big kind of trouble. I brought like 400 slides. We have to manage somehow. I always thought: one funny experiment would be that all of you have some kind of these remote controls, and you can keep clicking and clicking. Somehow I might be able to start whatever it is and try to say something or try to connect something. But we will see how far we can get, and then maybe you can also interrupt or ask questions. Lets not be only one directional. But anyway, I think I have the images here: that is a small experiment that I was doing, and then basically what had happened—I thought also that it is also kind of in the same way of trying to combine these 400 images of how you can—I will ask you for a lot of imagination from your side to try to put the things together. But, in this way, there was this experiment that was run, I think, in the 60s. Usually a video is like 24-frame per second, and with this it kind of gives a motion that you don’t see somebody walking very, very slow. What I was doing was trying to put a camera together with a ventilator, and somehow every time that one of these blades goes through it takes a picture. This means that if there was a lot of wind, then you get kind of a very high speed camera. It means that... tack, tack, tack, tack... many, many pictures. Then a little bit, like this relationship—I think there is something today also with this machine we were trying to combine the things. I was trying to press at the full speed and how fast it can go. There is this kind of relationship between—I have always like some friends who are kind of very intelligent—or what intelligent is: it is kind of the relationship, the balance between how much memory you can store, and how fast you can process the storage that you have: the gigabyte versus the RAM. Somehow this is what it is about and how you might be able to see something. Anyway, I go pretty fast. This is in Bolivia, and this is a salty lake. It is one of the flattest surfaces on earth. It is pretty amazing. One of the things that I would like to tell about is what you don’t see in these images—what had happened during the night. During the night also, as you can imagine, all the stars get reflected on the water, and there are these moments that you step on these kind of immense lake— then all the stars kind of somehow wrinkle. It is a video that I will try do next time. Somehow, this kind of reverberation—I have been working for a couple of years on the idea of building a kind of flying city, as Buckminster Fuller might have put it: we are flying around the sun at very high speed; we are floating already on the planet earth.
Humans always understand the bi-dimension. You can divide a spider web in bi- dimension or three-dimension. The bi-dimensional is more like the one with the concentric circles—I am talking with the brightest scientists here, but anyway—for the three-dimensional, there isn’t even a machine, or nobody has ever understood how they are done. This means that we kind of start to work together, and then what we did is like with just a laser—you illuminate the box of the spider, and you see exactly all the points, the interference between the sheet laser and points. Based on this, then we start to draw slide by slide. This is a two-year’s project. We start to draw all the things, and then we wanted to build it three-dimensionally. This means we got a lot of numbers... (Laughter)... oh, my God, it was a crazy thing. This is how the method is. It was two weeks, day-and-night, and day-and-night, because the show had to somehow be ready. This is during the exhibition. This is when you enter. People are still allowed to walk through. You start to recognise something. There is a kind of a very confusing area, then you get a valley; they you usually go to a retreat area. I still have 39 seconds...I was pretty happy about this collaboration with a lot of scientists. Then with Gilles Clement we presented a paper to send spider on space and see how the web might be building microgravity. There have been published, I think, four scientific papers: everybody in his own field; I was in the art field—but presented in the Arachnology Congress or in Poland with Peter Jäger, and everybody has his own interest on the work. I am happy, and thank you for the presentation!