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Tomas Saraceno calls for time to ‘Free the Air’


Artist Tomas Saraceno speaks through a streamed video during Herald Design Forum 2020. (Park Hae-mook / The Korea Herald)



INCHEON -- Argentinian artist Tomas Saraceno stressed that “freeing the air” is one of the most important agendas for humanity at the Herald Design Forum 2020, held virtually in Incheon on Thursday.


Saraceno is an Argentinian artist based in Berlin whose works span from architecture involving future cities and the environment to climate issues, all striving to work up a “quasi feasible utopia.”


At the annual design event, he made a special speech titled “Free the Air – Aerocene.”


“It all started with the dream of flying which has become a nightmare today. The air suffers from our dream of flying,” the artist said, explaining how excessive air travel is polluting the air.


At Thursday’s event, Saraceno introduced his “Aerocene Pacha” project, which took place earlier this year at Salinas Grandes, Jujuy salt desert in January. A licensed pilot flew using a fuel-free hot air balloon on his back, without using fossil fuels at all. The flight functioned solely on solar and wind power.


“Everything is connected in the web of life. Why is it so important to fly differently?” he said. “Today, polluted air has become one of the greatest mortality risks. We need to start to understand the air as our collaborator in the web of life.”


Aerocene means floating freely in the air, in other words, freeing the air. Saraceno has been pursuing Aerocene projects from the early 2000s. “Aerocene Pacha” project is the latest.


“As the pilot rose up above us, our dream of flying became real. It is a message to all humanity,” he said.


According to Saraceno, the global pandemic has shed new light on the importance of air.


“Today in times of the pandemic, we are brought to new awareness about air. The air we breathe tells us about the world we have created,” he said.


The eco-friendly flight set 32 world records as the world’s most sustainable flight, certified by the World Air Sports Federation.


Saraceno billed the project as “the most revolutionary flight” which will change the paradigm of flying.


The “Aerocene Pacha” project was live screened across the world as part of the Connect, BTS art project curated by Lee Dae-hyung, a global curatorial practice which shares a series of projects realized by 22 contemporary artists and curators from around the world.


By Im Eun-byel (