Harvard Graduate School of Design & Harvard Art Museums present a project in art and the public domain titled: The Divine Comedy.

The Divine Comedy is an exploration of the emerging domain of experimental spatial practice where the concerns of art, design, and activism are powerfully converging today. The exhibition traverses three critical realms—History, Mind, and Cosmos—in which aesthetics and the production of knowledge can be seen as inseparable practices that are reshaping our social and intellectual landscape and opening new opportunities for engaged action.

Theorist and Co-Director of the Harvard Master in Design Studies Program, Sanford Kwinter, curates. Kwinter comments on Tomás Saraceno‘s work and contribution to The Divine Comedy, Cloud City:

The work undeniably draws on the tradition of visionary architects from the hot-air globes aérostatiques of the Montgolfier brothers that floated over the French Ardèche in the 1780s to the self-supporting domes of Buckminster Fuller that were centrally conceived as ships or vacuoles within the “air ocean” just beyond the earth’s crust. But like these examples, its larger intention is to serve as harbinger of new psychic and political spaces to come.

Additionally, Saraceno’s work reflects an abiding interest in the hybrid geometries that link across the biological continuum: from the lightweight structures of spiderweb geometry to the deeply imbricated loops of information and energy that cybernetically bind the chemical processes of the biosphere to the life forms and social systems they sustain. Ultimately, Saraceno is interested in a biotechnological “psychogeography” that taps into the ancient capacity of living systems to adapt ever again to entirely new habitats, just as they once emerged, either of necessity or simple opportunism, from the sea to inhabit land. This time, however, in Saraceno’s universe, the feat will be accomplished within a hybrid of psychic, technological, and biological innovation, initially as delirious image, soon to be followed in concrete political reality.

In the project presented here on the terrace of the renowned Le Corbusier–designed Carpenter Center, Saraceno will erect and dock an air-filled, 7-meter-tall, 14-sided, irregular, transparent structure loaded with solar cells, sensors, recorders, and transmitters intended not only to record the environment but to incorporate and be integrated into it as well.* In collaboration with various space agencies and local amateur operators, the apparatus, or a confederacy of others like it, has the potential to be launched into free space to interact with the urban ocean above.

Saraceno’s Flickr stream


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