This month, the main hall at the Hamburger Bahnof (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Berlin will be adorned with a series of giant clear orbs that visitors can actually climb in, on and around! Created by Argentine artist Tomas Saraceno, the orbs float in an ethereal network of mesh, which spans the entire hall. Called “Cloud Cities,” the installation features spheres filled with different organic materials from water to plantlife.
Twenty clear orbs of different sizes crowd the museum’s hall, some suspended higher than others. Depending on the viewer, they evoke geodesic domes, hot air balloons, or bouncy houses from fancy children’s parties. Initially trained as an architect, Saraceno set up his orbs so that they are “caught” in black rope netting at perfect degrees, enabling the blown up plastic spheres to support weight.
Each of the clear orbs features elements you might find in a biosphere. Some support a series of hanging plants, while other have water bouncing within them. But the most interactive (and most fun, if you ask us) are the orbs in which visitors can walk in and on! Ladders lead into the thick membraned plastic spheres, letting one or two visitors climb (shoeless) inside, like a giant hamster ball. The plastic also supports weight on the outside, allowing visitors to lie on the tops of the biggest orbs. Saraceno notes that when one visitor lying atop an orb moves, the others also move in reaction, a literal commentary on how all elements of the world are interconnected to each other.
The bubbles, which are on display until January 15th, were commissioned by the Dornbracht Installation Project. The series of bubbles are Saraceno’s vision of a Utopian world, with air, water, plants and humans represented in a floating experience.