Cloud City at the Met

Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno’s “Cloud City” was an inflatable transparent form flying from Harvard’s Carpenter Center roof terrace last year as part of “The Divine Comedy” project on art and the public domain. This year, Saraceno has built one of his Cloud City installations at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, only this time it weighs about 20 tons. Resting on the Met rooftop, Cloud City is a dense interconnected formation of reflective stainless steel and acrylic.

Saraceno is known for his floating or flying city creations. The Met’s Cloud City invites viewers to inhabit the space around, between and inside its modules. This giant futuristic construction, whose mirrored walls, at times, subvert reflections, turning them upside down or in on themselves, is described by Saraceno as "an international space station.” For the general public, the piece is view-only, but it is possible to request a special tour in which museum-goers climb into Cloud City, exploring Saraceno’s habitat from within.

Varying thicknesses of black cables interweave inside the sculpture, web-like from certain angles. Maybe in this Cloud City Saraceno—between keeping up with e-mail, updating his Facebook status, and snapping up moments with Instagram—is reacting to the perpetual interconnectivity of 21st century existence. As human interaction moves from a limited physical dimension to the seemingly unlimited pixel dimension, how might conceptions of dynamic habitats transform?

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