Architecture

In Orbit art installation offers spidery spacewalk experience

In Orbit art installation offe...
Between the nets, six inflatable PVC spheres up to 8.5 m (30 ft) in diameter, divide the space and allow visitors to move freely (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
Between the nets, six inflatable PVC spheres up to 8.5 m (30 ft) in diameter, divide the space and allow visitors to move freely (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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The in-orbit art installation by Tomás Saraceno is currently at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen gallery (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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The in-orbit art installation by Tomás Saraceno is currently at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen gallery (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
The installation is suspended 20m (60 ft) above the piazza (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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The installation is suspended 20m (60 ft) above the piazza (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
Tomás Saraceno's installation aims to resemble a cloud landscape (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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Tomás Saraceno's installation aims to resemble a cloud landscape (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
The installation provides 2,500 sq m (27,000 sq ft) of steel wire safety nets (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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The installation provides 2,500 sq m (27,000 sq ft) of steel wire safety nets (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
The nets are stretched between three different levels below the glass cupola of the piazza (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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The nets are stretched between three different levels below the glass cupola of the piazza (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
Between the nets, six inflatable PVC spheres up to 8.5 m (30 ft) in diameter, divide the space and allow visitors to move freely (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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Between the nets, six inflatable PVC spheres up to 8.5 m (30 ft) in diameter, divide the space and allow visitors to move freely (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
The installation took over three years to plan (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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The installation took over three years to plan (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
Saraceno consulted with engineers, architects, and arachnologists (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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Saraceno consulted with engineers, architects, and arachnologists (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
Saranceno has also established a study of living spiders and their delicate web formation in the gallery artist's room (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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Saranceno has also established a study of living spiders and their delicate web formation in the gallery artist's room (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
The installation featues in the K21 Ständehaus building of the gallery (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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The installation featues in the K21 Ständehaus building of the gallery (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
The net structure alone weighs 3,000 kg, and the largest of the spheres weighs 300 kg (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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The net structure alone weighs 3,000 kg, and the largest of the spheres weighs 300 kg (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
Safety regulations mean that up to ten adults in stable shoes may walk among the nets at any one time (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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Safety regulations mean that up to ten adults in stable shoes may walk among the nets at any one time (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
It is hoped that visitors will impact each other through the vibrations of their travel in the nets (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
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It is hoped that visitors will impact each other through the vibrations of their travel in the nets (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)

If you have ever wished you could experience weightlessness but can't afford space tourism, then a Dusseldorf art gallery may get you closer, as long as you wear sturdy shoes. The in orbit multi-level art installation by Tomás Saraceno is suspended 20 m (60 ft) above the piazza of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen gallery. The Argentinian architect and artist’s largest work to date aims to resemble a cloud landscape for those brave enough to walk through it.

The installation provides 2,500 sq m (27,000 sq ft) of steel wire safety nets stretched between three different levels below the glass cupola of the piazza. Between the nets, six inflatable PVC spheres up to 8.5 m (30 ft) in diameter divide the space and allow visitors to move freely around each "net" floor.

"To describe the work means to describe the people who use it – and their emotions," explains Tomás Saraceno. "For me, the work visualizes the space-time continuum, the three-dimensional web of a spider, the ramifications of tissue in the brain, dark matter, or the structure of the universe. With ‘in orbit,’ proportions enter into new relationships; human bodies become planets, molecules, or social black holes."

The installation is suspended 20m (60 ft) above the piazza (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
The installation is suspended 20m (60 ft) above the piazza (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)

In the three years of planning for the installation, Saraceno consulted with engineers, architects, and spider experts (arachnologists). Saraceno has also established a study of living spiders and their delicate web formation in the artist's room of the gallery's K21 Ständehaus building to inform the design process. Saraceno has created a formidable web as a result of these studies, the net structure alone weighs 3000 kg (6,600 lb), and the largest of the spheres weighs 300 kg (660 lb).

The installation featues in the K21 Ständehaus building of the gallery (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)
The installation featues in the K21 Ständehaus building of the gallery (Image: Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013)

For those who suffer neither from vertigo nor arachnophobia, the installation may well provide the opportunity to view the world from new perspectives. Safety regulations mean that up to ten adults in stable shoes may walk among the nets at any one time, but it is hoped that any co-ordination of the visitors within the space may highlight a new communication method through the medium of vibration.

There's more info in the video below.

Source: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen via artdaily

Tomás Saraceno - in orbit

3 comments
Slowburn
I don't see the weightlessness.
Nairda
Hmm,. can just see one of those spheres rolling over someone,.....or someone else getting a few keys and smartphones in the head from the net above,....or a bloke stepping through a hole in the net and being 'inconvenienced',....or the girls on the top net complaining about the blokes below. But apart from all that it looks like fun :) Some childish part of me would like to have a go on this. The first port of call would be 5 guys bouncing in unison on one side to create a standing wave thereby launching the one person on the other side. Old trampoline stunt.
Russ Pinney
"...the work visualizes the space-time continuum...the ramifications of tissue in the brain, dark matter, or the structure of the universe... proportions enter into new relationships; human bodies become planets, molecules, or social black holes." Err, righto. Or, if you prefer, a grown-up's version of those indoor play centres with names like MonkeyMania and Tunz-a-Fun.