In August 1709, the Portuguese priest and naturalist Bartolomeu de Gusmão accomplished, for the first time, the feat of elevating a heavier-than-air object into the air. This would become the first hot air balloon ever built, preceding the Montgolfier brothers by eight decades. Three hundred years later, artist Tomás Saraceno (b. 1973) began to create sculptures which defy gravity, floating in the air merely heated by the sun, leaving behind the use of helium or fuel. These pieces also form the basis for the Aerocene Foundation which, as the artist explains, “embodies a new interplanetary ecology of practice which could reconnect with elemental sources of energy and strata coming from the sun and other planets, breaking the boundaries of the sublunary. We can now think to move together towards an aerosolar ethos, embodying an ever more entangled relationship with the atmosphere, the air and the cosmos.”
A Thermodynamic Imaginary presented a new immersive ensemble of sculptures from this ongoing project, including existing and new pieces that allowed us to imagine the possibility of an “aerocene” urbanism, as well as a futuristic view of new attunements between humans, more-than-human beings and the Earth system, reaching an ethical commitment with the sun, the atmosphere, and the planet.