To infinity and beyond
In 2009, Argentinian artist and architect Tomás Saraceno attended the International Space Studies Program at NASA Ames. Seven years later, he embarked on a research expedition to the Atacama desert, filming and photographing skies. With his team, he worked in Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat on Earth, which has been used to calibrate telescopes from outer space thanks to its reflective surface. The result, titled ’163,000 Light Years’ (referencing the distance to our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud) is being exhibited in MARCO in Monterrey, Mexico, until 4 November.
Saraceno regards his work as ‘ongoing research’ in ‘collaboration with other disciplines’ (engineering, science, and natural history), and is known for producing large-scale installations with a visionary, utopian feel. ’163,000 Light Years’ is no different, incorporating both underwater spiders and films of outer space.
As with the notebooks of the early 20th century astronautics pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who inspired him, Saraceno’s work is a conglomerate of science and fiction, looking beyond the technological possibilities of today. But its playfulness does not undermine its ambition. As Tsiolkovsky said, ‘First, inevitably, the idea, the fantasy, the fairy tale. Then, scientific calculation. Ultimately, fulfillment crowns the dream.’
Pictured: Re-entry, by Tomás Saraceno, 2016. Courtesy of the artist
Writer: Dina Tsesarsky