Tomás Saraceno is an artist who moves between art, science and society. From this triangulation, the collaboration with professionals from different disciplines and a curiosity that pushes him to extend his gaze beyond the visible, comes a way of viewing that is different from the ‘traditional’ one, particularly important in this period of great change. His commitment to the vision (also practical) of an ecology of the future is rooted in the study of spiders, their vibrations, their behaviour, building methods and sensations, and is at the basis of Saraceno’s work. It is spiders, as well as all species escaping our attention, that lead him to identify alternative lifestyles which offer a more sustainable approach to the environment. We remember, for example, the group “Museo Aero Solar”, an international open-source community co-founded by Saraceno in 2007, where the group invited the public to participate in the collective collection of plastic bags which they then transformed into a flying museum with the help of solar radiation.
Now these visions, thoughts and ecological experiments have reached an important research stage. Saraceno’s artistic research is, in fact, being channeled into concrete ecological proposals, such as his series of air – balloons that travel in harmony with the air and sun. His research was presented in a solo show at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence shortly before it was closed as a result of the global health emergency.
Following the closure of the exhibition, Saraceno participated in the project proposed by the “intouch” institution, sharing a video message that, from his observations on invisible particles moving in the air, such as dust, invited us to move more slowly. The Arachnomancy App was also added for individual readings of Arachnomancy Cards – cards and the union between human and non-human intelligence that through spiders and cartomancy inspired Saraceno at the Venice Biennale 2019.
The Palazzo Strozzi exhibition centres on the series of Arachnomancy Cards: thirty-three cards designed by the artist which become metaphors for the links between everything, living and non-living, that exists in nature. At Palazzo Strozzi, each room in the exhibition is associated with a map that becomes a sort of harbinger linking the contents of each space, creating unexpected connections between seemingly distant elements. Another room is dedicated to the complete series of thirty-three cards.
The App imagined and developed with Studio Saraceno allows users to interrogate the oracle wherever and whenever they like, joining a mapping initiative against extinction, creating a network of connections between real spider webs from around the world, participating in the collective exercise of Mapping Against Extinction. On the site Arachnophilia.net these and other themes investigated by Saraceno and his study can be further explored.