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Solar umbrellas challenge concept of air

Out There | January 18, 2019 | By:

Photo: Aerocene Foundation.

During Miami Art Week 2018, Berlin-based artist Tomás Saraceno presented “Albedo,” an atmospherically attuned installation created in collaboration with Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet. Reflective solar umbrellas and floating sculptures provided daily aerosolar performances that questioned how breathing will be affected in the post–fossil fuel era.

Saraceno created a large-scale temporal pavilion composed of 40 reflective, out-turned umbrellas of varying sizes aligned to create a hemispherical sundial. The structure collected solar energy and used it to lift and suspend the Aerocene Explorer. The Explorer is an apparatus that inflates with air and floats, balloon-like, using the earth’s infrared radiation and solar energy. The Explorer was created by Saraceno in collaboration with the Aerocene Foundation.

The Explorer was conceived as a collective endeavor to raise awareness about the plight of the earth’s atmosphere and proposes imaginative solutions to rid the world of fossil fuels. Interaction with the installation was encouraged. To that end, the umbrellas were also used to harness energy for solar cooking done by chefs each morning throughout the week.

Saraceno studied at NASA and has been an artist in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2012. In creating these works, he strives for final results that “are very simple, anti-technology, and can reach the hands of many people.”


Sources include and Art Basel.

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