Lesson / Koan : Gravity is a social relationship.
Tomas Saraceno (born 1973) is an Argentine artist on the CLOUD team.
He creates experimental sculptures, including balloons and inflatable constructions, that alter our experience of the built environment. His sculptures often resemble networks of floating cells or suspended habitats.
Following in the tradition of architects and theorists R. Buckminster Fuller, Peter Cook, Yona Friedman, and other visionaries, Saraceno looks to scientific principles and technological innovations to develop ideas for sustainable communities and new models for social interactions.
“My idea for an Air-Port-City is to create platforms or habitable cells made up of cities that float in the air. These change form and join together like clouds. This freedom of movement is borrowed from the orderly structure of airports, and it allows for the creation of the first international city. . . . Air-Port-City is like a flying airport; you will be able to legally travel across the world . . . . This structure seeks to challenge today’s political, social, cultural, and military restrictions in an attempt to re-establish new concepts of synergy.”
It is easy to see why Tomas Saraceno was asked to be part of the CLOUD team, per his answers to the following questions.
Is it a flying utopia?
The utopian habitat Air-Port-City is like a huge kinetic structure that works towards a real economic transformation. Moving from a personal “belief” to a collective one is the first step in the realisation of this idea. Like continental drift at the beginning of the world, the new cities will search for their positions in the air in order to find their place in the universe. From cirrocumulus to cirrocumuluscity! It provides feedback so as to enable a faster process of communication, capable of imagining more elastic and dynamic border rules (political, geographical, etc.) for a new space/cyberspace.
And what about your flying gardens?
Flying gardens are part of the Air-Port-City family. These spatial and temporal characteristics are needed for a sustainable occupation, a necessary invasion made up of plants, humans and animals. The geographic range of most plant and animal species is limited by climatic factors and any shift will have an impact on the organisms living there. Climate changes faster than plants can disperse to new, more suitable areas. A flying garden (think of it as multiple Amazons in transcontinental flight) with 62 different cities joined in the air will generate a spherical shape; the interior of the sphere will enclose enough air to lift the city and its flight will depend on solar energy. There will be “airplants” from the genus Tillandsia. Native to South America and Africa, these are true air plants: they derive all their nutrition from the air, imbibing rain and dew and whatever nutrients the air brings to them through their leaf tissues. There are no roots for water and nutrient uptake so they are quite air-sufficient.