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Aerocene to Trans-European Transport Network with the European Commission

Slovenia, 25-27 April 2018. 

The 9th edition of the European Commissions yearly conference on Mobility and Transport took place, and Aerocene was invited to be part of it.

Former European Commissioner for Transport (and Aerocene Community member) Violeta Bulc invited Ministers, Members of the European Parliament and key stakeholders to Ljubljana to discuss how to contribute to smart, sustainable and safe Mobility, relying on the trans-European transport network and investments in transport connectivity. The Commissioner has also invited Aerocene, to think and imagine different futures.

A unique opportunity to reach ministers, policy-makers, MEPs, entrepreneurs and stakeholders from across the European Union, Aerocene aimed to inspire new thinking, collaborations, innovative and sustainable solutions for advancement and implementation of the trans- European transport network and policy, towards reaching the Paris Agreement, Agenda 2020, and a fossil-free future.

Today, everything has changed. And yet, we are really learning how difficult, but possible, is to move differently, in tune with the planet’s rhythm and its only agenda.,


Two years ago, participating in the TEN-T conference, Aerocene Community together with initiator  and artist Tomás Saraceno, wanted to share the goals of Aerocene, understanding how we could make an “aerosolar infrastructure” really possible, for the sake of the the Earth, and all its co-habiting elements and beings.

During the conference days, the Community was rising together with the sun, to attempt the first Tethered Human Solar Flight in Slovenia. The solar balloon “D-O AEC” previously made history on November 8 2015, lifting up 7 passengers without any propane in White Sands, New Mexico, achieving two world records of the first and longest manned, tethered aerosolar flight.

Today, during the global lockdown, just after the achievements of Fly with Aerocene Pacha mission, it is crucial to reflect on how real the need and the possibility to change how we move is. After achieving something never been done before in the human history of this planet and after 20 years of research together with Studio Tomás Saraceno, Aerocene Community members, friends and institutions all over the world, the Aerocene epoch is finally in becoming. As Fly with Aerocene Pacha set different world records, being the first ever Free Human Flight achieved only with the heat of the sun and no trace of rare gases or fossil fuels, the Tethered Human Flight in Ljubljana marked the beginning of a work within invisible infrastructures that will need to change too, and soon, for a renewed era of sustainable mobility. Free from borders, free from fossil fuels.

Centuries ago, before mankind thought of flying machines, the Latin maxim was coined: Who owns the land, owns even to the skies. (“Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum”). In the 18th century, the invention of hot air balloons led to the legal materialization of this maxim: the very first air law was promulgated.

Since then, governance has extended to the air, in the same way as on the ground, without considering the freeing possibilities of the atmosphere. Air has been invaded by drones, satellites, military devices and strictly regulated by national policies. While enterprises to colonize other planets are put in place, the atmosphere continues to be heavily compromised: clouds of coal and carbon emissions fill the air, invisible radio waves develop in a hegemonic algorithm of dominance, nuclear particles and particulate matter floats inside our lungs. Do they ask for permission?  When something PARTICULAR becomes a MATTER of concern?

© Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2017

Which types of regulations and imagination are needed?

Since Aerocene was born, community members from all over the world launched aerosolar sculptures in 126 different locations:

103tethered flights
16free flights
8human flights

Some of them were launched free, as Aerocene Gemini, that in 2016 floated free in the sky for over 12 hours. It travelled 605 km and reached a maximum altitude of 16283 m, landing in northern Poland by nightfall. 

Today, in this very same moment, the human species is challenged by COVID-19. No borders are crossed, and human mobility drastically stops. Today, in a time of movement restrictions, Aerocene takes the opportunity to investigate and reconnect with different, possible futures for the next ways of moving on the planet Earth, where the air has reconquered a voice in the humans agenda. Waiting for the moment in which Aerocene sculptures will fly freely again over countries’ borders, Aerocene proposes to give space and time to float with our imagination, disrupting other types of frontiers and boundaries, beginning from the ones within ourselves.