To many, art is an experience that’s far more than looking at paintings on a wall. It is something that should be interactive and play with the space around it. The canvas should be the world to these hopefuls, and it is so rare that art moves beyond a gallery. Artist Tomás Saraceno has been given one of the biggest and coolest canvases to work with: a train station. Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof is home to Saraceno’s interactive exhibit, Cloud City, from now until January 15th, 2012.
Tomás Saraceno/My Modern Met
Entering Cloud City is like entering a dewy dream world. Visitors are surrounded by different bubbles and structures suspended throughout the exhibit. Among the inflatable domes are levitating gardens which house plant life within their structure. It is at once a relaxing environment, but Saraceno has taken it further by creating bubbles in which people can lounge. From these bubbles they can see the installations from different angles and experience the atmosphere from within. The experience is difficult to describe, but those at Domus emphasize how important the experience is to Saraceno’s art:
"Saraceno, however, stresses that his work must be experienced rather than just looked at. Upon entering the upper layer of these wobbly domes, the visitors—gripped by awe—suddenly realize how precarious the construction is, and become aware of the impact their every movement has upon the structure and, in consequence, upon every other visitor. Evoking Humberto Maturana's autopoiesis, Saraceno tells us how he sees the individual and the environment as a dialectical pair, and his own work as a cautionary tale, aimed at raising awareness about the inescapable reflexivity of living systems."
By giving visitors these spaces and ways to experience what has been presented before them, Saraceno immerses them in the art and encourages thought about their surroundings.
However, visitors are not obligated to keep a stern and pensive face during their visit. The spaces are awe-inspiring and fun and new. Curiosity and exploration are just as important to the art experience as reflection. Hanging out in huge water drops and bubbles definitely fosters some curiosity.
Below is a video of Cloud City’s grand opening. To see more, check out the rest of Domus’ first hand write up or Hamburger Banhof’s website.
Mallory "Friday" Soto is the Editor of Cool Sh!t, Joonbug's source for internet culture, tech, charity, and the arts. A former Lit zine editor and comic book fan, she comes from a background of short stories and tales of masked vigilantes. She's a native New Yorker and avid video game fan.