Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno / Argentina, b.1973 / Installation views of Biosphere 02 2009 in GOMA’s Long Gallery / PVC, rope, nylon monofilament, acrylic, plants (Tillandsia), air pressure regulator system, hydration system / Purchased 2014 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AC, through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / QAGOMA Photography / © The artist

Each of Saraceno's 'Biopheres' is created from the artist's signature technique of intertwined rope woven around transparent inflatable bubbles – some containing plants, and others able to be physically entered and inhabited. Trained as an architect, and interested in ecology for its social and interactive possibilities, Saraceno was inspired by utopian experiments – including author Buckminster Fuller's airborne geodesic domes described in his Cloud Nine in the 1960s – as well as by radical architectural projects and scientific investigations.

The spider's web reveals that the integrity of the whole is dependent on each individual part. The Biospheres act as salient metaphors for the interconnectedness of ecosystems, and profoundly rethink the parameters of architecture and its nexus with art. These ideas find physicality in the experience of walking through the threads of rope that extend out from the works and of looking up at the Biospheres as they apparently levitate in the air. While the proposition of clusters of biosphere cities in the sky may be utopian, it is a reminder that contemporary art provides space in which we can imagine profoundly different futures.