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“We all have to do an exercise to try to figure out what the superfluous things are and what we need to change”

Spiders' home 

May 13, 2020

"His practice is at the intersection of various disciplines, such as architecture, design and art, but also includes the exploration of related fields, such as biomaterials and the science of flight." With these words Joseph Grima, Director of the Museo del Design Italiano at Triennale Milano, introduces the Argentinean artist Tomás Saraceno with whom he talks, starting from some questions of the French sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher Bruno Latour to hypothesize who and what to "quarantine" permanently in the post-Covid-19 era.

Photography © Ela Bialkowska, OKNO StudioPhotography-©-Ela-Bialkowska,-OKNO

On March 30, 2020, Bruno Latour published Imaginer les gestes barrières contre le retour à la production d'avant crise (Imagine distancing actions against the return to pre-crisis production), an essay in which he reflects on the current situation and how we can act on the one that awaits us, once we have overcome the health emergency due to the spread of Covid-19. "The first lesson of the coronavirus is also the most surprising: it has been proven that, in just a few weeks, it is possible to discontinue, anywhere in the world and at the same time, an economic system that everyone says is impossible to slow down or redirect. [...] If everything is stopped, everything can be questioned, bent, selected, ordered, discontinued for real or, on the contrary, accelerated. It is now time to take the annual inventory. To the common sense request: 'Let's restart production as quickly as possible', we must respond with a shout: 'Absolutely not!'. The last thing we should do would be to do exactly what we did before. [...] By asking ourselves this kind of question, each of us starts to imagine distancing actions not only against the virus, but against every element of a mode of production that we don't want to restart. This is because it is no longer a question of restarting or influencing a production system, but of abandoning production as the only principle of relationship in the world".

In line with the philosopher's reflections on the imbalances in the current production system, Tomás Saraceno says: "We need to do an exercise to understand which things are superfluous and which things need to be changed. I am trying to link the consumption of fruit and vegetables to the seasonal calendar. I only eat meat once a month; because more than 50% of what is produced on a global scale is thrown away. Today, twenty-six people have the economic capacity of half of the entire Planet Earth. The virus of capitalism is very strong and we cannot confine it."

© Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno

"Spiders are prehistoric animals, living on Planet Earth for more than 150 million years. Homo sapiens has only lived there for 310,000 years. A species is usually considered to have learned to live in one place when it has lived there for about 5 million years. When people ask me whether it is spiders who live in my house or I live in the spider’s house, it seems pertinent to me to have the humility to say that it is we humans who live in the spider’s house. There is a huge inequality."
Tomás Saraceno

"There is a principle of the Cherokee culture that requires any individual who has to make a decision to take into account the seven generations that will come after him or her. Perhaps the real problem we have run aground in is dogma, the religion of individualism, the inability to look beyond the individual."
Joseph Grima

Photography-©-Ela-Bialkowska,-OKNO

Tomás Saraceno's practice moves between various disciplines including art, science and social sciences. His floating sculptures, community projects and interactive installations propose and explore new and sustainable ways of living and perceiving the environment. In 2007, Saraceno initiated projects aimed at reaching an ethical collaboration with the atmosphere. As part of the international artistic and interdisciplinary Aerocene community, in 2015 Saraceno achieved the world record for the first and longest fully solar-powered flight. His deep interest in spiders led to the development of the Arachnophilia team within the Studio Tomás Saraceno, leading in turn to the creation of the Arachnophilia.net website and the Arachnomancy app. 

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