May 22, 2012

Walking on


Cloud City
54 ft. long x 29 ft. high
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rooftop - Until November 2012
It's a geodesic dome, it's a space pod... 
It's the new installation on the roof of the MET.

 It's might be true that every time you look at a landscape, you see something different.  If you think you've seen the skyline of NYC, think again.  Tomas Saraceno's Cloud City is a exuberant burst of joy that makes us experience the lightness of being.
"What inspired me was the geometry of the soap bubbles or the foam, of how they connect one sphere to the other, or they could be the bubbles that form when you drink chocolate milk from a bottle." Tomas Saraceno
"It's a multi-reality, it's like a walk in the sky."
Tomas Saraceno

When I look at Georgia O'Keefe's Sky Above The Clouds IV (1965), I feel like I am walking on clouds.  I am not sure I can say that about Tomas Saraceno's sculpture.

But in order to experience  Cloud City climb* into the sculpture. That changes everything.
The walk to the top is a challenge.  You can get off the stairway at a different levels.  Even though the sculpture is only 29 ft. tall,  it's hard to maintain your equilibrium.  The body wants to go forward, but your mind keeps telling you that the next step may not "exist." I don't know if it's the transparent acrylic floor  and "walls" or the different size and shape of each pod, but your perception of stability is flummoxed.

I always assumed that walking on clouds would feel like floating. The structure of Cloud City may relate to the geometry of bubbles, but being inside this sculpture is the unease of seemingly walking on a weightless surface. Maybe that is what walking on clouds is like. 

I descended slowly, unsure of my next step.  As my foot touched the roof deck,  I was happy to be back on terra firma. 

*The tickets to climb into Cloud City are free.  They can be obtained on the 4th Floor near the roof elevator.  The tickets are a timed entry.  I advise going to get your tickets first and then going up to the roof.  Sneakers are required to climb the sculpture and all belongings, including your cell phone and camera are required to be locked up on the 4th floor as well. 

Artist as Innovator: 
Visions of a Floating City

A 2012 World Science Festival Event
Thursday, May 31, 6pm, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, Met
Featuring: Tomas Saraceno, Peter Jager, Mario Livio, Chris McKay, Mark Wigley


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