Tomás Saraceno is an Argentine artist who creates pieces that explore alternative, sustainable ways of viewing and interacting with the environment. Previous works include floating iridescent and geometric installations that affect the way we perceive the relationship between the earth and sky. In this project, titled “Becoming Aerosolar,” Saraceno has woven together a patchwork of plastic bags into a massive hot air balloon. Trapping the heat of the sun in a greenhouse-like effect, the plastic canvas lifts majestically into the sky, transforming stigmatized, non-biodegradable waste into a work of liberating beauty.
Exploring the creative crossover between environmentalism, history, art, and human perception, Saraceno notes how the hot air balloon “came about as a means of escape and protection in the late 18th century, during the time of the French Revolution. It is significant that during these times of uncertainty, people looked to the sky to escape the reality on earth” (Source). As an innovation deriving from crisis and a longing for freedom, the plastic bag balloon takes on a contemporary significance: in an age of environmental turmoil, when the planet we inhabit verges on irreparable damage, the sky (and beyond that, outer space) becomes the frontier of hope. However, beyond signifying that upward glance of salvation and survival, “Becoming Aerosolar” optimistically reminds us how repurposing our materials and shifting our perspectives could lead to changing our trajectory on Earth.