Aussie Esperance & Perth Explorer Flights


Esperance & Perth Explorer Flights

A duo of first ever Australian Aerocene Explorer flights took place in the last week of 2017 and the first week of 2018.
Gwilym Faulkner who was visiting his family on vacation from Berlin, had the timely opportunity to launch with them into the new year in a truly Aerocenic manner. The first flight took place on the remote white and blue expanse of Lucky Bay in Esperance, and secondly in a more communal setting at the South Fremantle beach in Perth.

The flight in Esperance was a true testament to the ability of the wind, with a strong onshore south-westerly typical to the area, the flight was equal parts battle and dance with the wind in an attempt to gain some lift from the sun and record some aerial footage of the beautiful coastal landscape.

Sharing the beach with only a few campers and tourists, there was a beautiful quietness between the sculpture and the landscape, which was only occasionally interrupted by a curious cry of a child, the slowing engine of a vehicle beachgoer passing by and the perhaps confused calls of local seagulls. Having several pairs of helping hands on standby, the sculpture was manageable but still an important reminder of the power and force that is constantly generated by the ever present wind. After a few successful lifts the decision was made to retire the sculpture for the day. For a first ever flight in the continent, the group left with a feeling of achievement and a newfound respect for the raw power and ability of nature.




On the 6th of January, with sunny blue skies and a moderate amount of wind, the second flight took place on a grassy field a stone’s throw away from the waters of South Beach in Fremantle. With adequate sunshine and a recorded temperature difference of 13 degrees celsius within 6 minutes, the sculpture was ready to launch. Before long a relationship between the sculpture and the people began to take place; many local families, friends and beachgoers were getting curious and inquisitive about the sculpture.

Once the sculpture had lifted, the first to interact, unsurprisingly, were a group of young toddlers who chased and danced with the sculpture. Following their lead, many of the other people who had heard about the launch or passed by at the right time started to converse between themselves and with Gwilym regarding just what it was they were seeing. The moments when many realized this large thing in front of them was lifted purely by the power of the sun, there was a reaction of awe and excitement and perhaps a shift in the way things are seen. In a land with such plentiful sunshine, the potential for an Aerocene inspired future is bright and important.

Lancaster Tethered flight at Mobile Utopia Conference

Aerocene Explorer Tethered flight at Mobile Utopia Conference

2 November 2017


54°00’21.0″N 2°47’15.0″W

On November 2nd Sasha Engelmann, Bronislaw Szerszynski and Grace Pappas performed an Aerocene Explorer tethered flight in Lancaster, UK, within the framework of a two-day “Mobile Utopia Experiment” called “The Drift Economy”, that Bron and Sasha  co-organized. The Drift Economy workshop was held at the Lancaster City Library on November 1st, and at the Lancaster University InfoLab on the morning of the 2nd.  Participants joined Bron and Sasha in experimenting with drifting seeds, VR-experiences of drift, and ‘mapping drift’ onto a three dimensional diorama of Lancaster’s topography. The Drift Economy was an experiment in public participation in an alternative mobility regime based on the existing flows of water, air, slopes, soil and elemental processes.  

Aerocene was a primary element in the Drift Economy experiment, as well as in the conference session and panel that Bron and Sasha chaired at the Mobile Utopia Conference.

In the context of the continuing expansion of fuel-intensive air travel and the militarization, securitization and commercialization of atmospheric space, the experimental workshop and the conference session were devoted to exploring how humans might develop an ethical and sustainable relationship with the atmosphere through vernacular ways of sensing, understanding and collaborating with the macro- and micro-dimensions of air. 

The approach to critical atmospheric utopias was inspired by Aerocene, inviting a tactile, unmediated skilling of atmospheric awareness. In its name, Aerocene also deliberately evokes the possibility of an epochal shift in humanity’s relation with its home planet, and indeed in the very way that the Earth populates its atmosphere with moving things. 

At around noon on the 2nd of November, Grace and Sasha inflated the sculpture on an open field near the conference venue.  As they were attaching the GPS tracker to the Aerocene sculpture, Rob La Frenais joined them on his bike.  Later in the conference, during his Keynote speech, Rob spoke about the Aerocene flight that had happened that day, and related it to the White Sands launch of D-OAEC Aerocene that occurred in 2015.


Luckily for the launch team, the weather was particularly benign on that day -except for a little wind – and the Aerocene Explorer floated in the atmosphere immediately, while recording track information with a handheld GPS attached to it.  Sasha and Grace took turns flying the sculpture, and then Sam Hertz, who had just arrived at the conference, flew the Aerocene with Bron.  

The Sculpture flew over an hour, overseen by over 60 people who gathered for the launch, registering a complicated aero-glyphic that was later processed with Garmin Basecamp and Google Earth into a striking visualization.  Participants connected to the Aerocene Explorer wifi hotspot and connected to the Aerocene’s onboard camera to ‘see’ what the sculpture was seeing. During her train travel back to London that evening, and on the way back up to Lancaster the following morning, Sasha downloaded the flight data from the launch and made some early attempts at a Google Earth flight visualization with the help of Joaquin.  


The experience of the Aerocene launch resonated into the conference session during the following days. The “Atmospheric Adventures in the Aerocene: heterotopias of aerial mobility” conference panel on the 3rd November included presentations by Bron, Sasha and Sam Hertz. It also included a short film, “Points of Presence” made by Adam Fish, Bradley Garrett and Oliver Case.  Rob La Frenais was the ‘discussant’.  The panel was guided by the following questions:


  • How can we invent and employ accessible, modest aerial experiments to arrive at an ethical engagement with the atmosphere?

  • What tools, skills, imaginaries and alliances do we need to develop to become more sensitive to the objects and vibrations passing through the atmosphere around us?

  • How can we populate the air in ways that enhance rather than diminish atmospheric affordances for different forms of life? 


The response from the panel and the subsequent discussions with many scholars, researchers, artists, technologists and engineers was a clear indication of the way that the Aerocene launch and the panel discussion had catalyzed a range of reflections and insights at the Mobile Utopia conference.  Indeed, many commented that it was the most expressive, ethical and collective ‘mobile utopia’ among the countless other proposals circulating in the air in Lancaster.

Sasha Engelmann would like to thank the Aerocene foundation for lending the sculpture to Aerocene friends in the U.K., Bron for coordinating their amazing Drift Economy experiment in Lancaster, Daniel Schulz for preparing the Explorer and checking all the components with Sasha during the summer, and Joaquin who was a fantastic (!) help with the Garmin device & software. Also Grace traveled over two hours from London to join the launch on that day and was incredibly super helpful in flying, communicating and documenting the Aerocene project to everyone involved.

Organizer: Sasha Engelmann 

Drift Economy Experiment: Bronislaw Szerszynski, Sasha Engelmann and Adam Fish

Aerocene Explorer borrowed from Aerocene Foundation

Communication: Camilla Berggen Lundell (Aerocene Foundation) and Alice Lamperti our amazing intern at STS

Aerocene Explorer set-up and support: Daniel Schulz (STS)

Aeroglyphics tutorial and support: Joaquin Ezcurra (Aerocene Foundation)

Payload experiments: Grace Pappas

Aerocene Launch Münchenberg

Aerocene Launch

Munchenberg 23.09.2017


Part 1. Aerocene Flight

Two solar sculptures gently floating above an industrial town in Germany brought in mind our desire of escaping the Anthropocene and entering the Aerocene.

A sand quarry has exactly the sound of the Anthropocene. The conveyor belt for wheeling sand around the working area has that high-pitched tone that sticks into your head and forces you to focus on it.

On Saturday we tried to cover that sound with the delicate melody of two solar balloons. Our new Aerocene sculptures managed to capture even those very few golden rays of sun that peaked through the cloudy autumn sky and, using just air, left for their zero-fuel journey above Germany.

We arrived at the location at 7 a.m., just as the sun started to rise over the horizon. Aerocene sculptures fly due to the temperature difference between the envelope interior and its surrounding air. At that time of the day, the air is still cold from the night, and it makes for an ideal time for a launch. If you act fast and catch those first sun rays before the air around it warms up, then the sculptures can take off in no time. And we saw it happening; in a matter of a couple of hours, we managed to inflate the Aerocene sculptures and saw them take off – with only 1 degree of temperature difference. The two giant three colored sculptures, an icosahedron and a tetrahedron, are the biggest ever produced for a free flight, with their 8 m of diameter. Unfortunately, they flew for only 10 km this time, as the clouds covered the sun reducing the irradiation, forcing them to land in a nearby forest.


Aerocene is a project celebrating our relationship with nature. Nothing exists in a vacuum, everything is connected and everything is being affected by what is happening next to it. It is an appreciation of these delicate relationships. If we develop a sensitivity towards these connections then we can start creating in harmony with them.

On Saturday, flying above the industrial site, we dreamt of a time when we will break free from our parasitic practices towards nature. For a few hours, we were not in the Anthropocene anymore; we were living in the Aerocene era.

When one happens to be under an Aerocene balloon, holding it while it is inflating, one can feel the energy emanated by the sculpture, which reflects the real potential and strength of the Earth, the Air and the Sun dancing together to their own tune. All of a sudden, you just realize how small we are, part of an intricate system of causes and effects in which we are just joints of a bigger natural mechanism, and have no right to own nothing.

The time for the Anthropocene is over: as soon as we recognize it, we will have more chances to lay the groundwork for the new Aerocene epoch, thinking by doing, thinking actively towards a new equilibrium between the elements, to overcome the erroneous dichotomy between man and nature and to re-learn how to inhabit our planet. Our dream is to develop real possibilities and alternatives to push our species towards an harmonious coexistence with nature. What we achieved on Saturday is a very encouraging result that fills us with hopes and dreams for the future of what is possible.

Part 2. Experiments

Aerocene is an era where people work in harmony with our environments but also with each other. As part of this epoch, for the past few months we have been collaborating with the London-based designer and RCA student Grace Pappas to produce a series of experiments using the Aerocene and the possibilities it opens up as a platform.

Materials exist in an inseparable bond to their environment and the different forces that act upon them. Pressure, temperature, gravity, time; all affect how materials exist in a specific moment in a particular location. Along the same principles, Grace Pappas developed a series of objects that are sensitive towards the environment the Aerocene flies in. She created loads of playful prototypes that react to pressure and temperature, some more simple and some more elaborate.

For example, we wanted to release a trap during the flight to study the complex form of life that exist in the air. Aerocene does not leave a trail of pollution behind itself. This means that any experiments in air quality or biodiversity will be more accurate than data collected using more obtrusive means. Reflecting a similar narrative, Grace created for our Aerocene Hack an insect collector that opens and closes using air pressure, to capture and protect insect samples. For this Free Flight, she created a release mechanism using ice. Two pieces of string, one attached to the sculpture and one attached to the insect collector were frozen together in a small block of ice. Some time after takeoff the ice melted, allowing the collector to drop.In addition, she created a performative pressure sensor that moves in reaction to the air pressure differences experienced during a flight at high altitude. Pressure, air volume and temperature lay on the same function; when you change one, the other two get affected. For example, if the pressure for a given amount of air drops, then its volume expands. Similarly, when the temperature drops, the air contracts. Drawing from that principle, she created an object that moves as the air pressure changes. To achieve that, she insulated a series of pistons, to minimize the effects of temperature to the air and attached them to a dial that would display the air expansion during the flight.


Part 3. Tracking and Recovery


Aerocene Argentina CCK

Aerocene Explorer Argentina Tata Inti - performance with eight aerocene explorer ARGENTINA 6-7 AUGUST 2017 8:55 a.m.

The Aerocene Explorer performance, Tata Inti – (father sun) doesn’t try to get closer to the sun. Instead what it does is to play with the way in which the sun and the air interact with each other in thermodynamic balance.

In Greek mythology, Icarus and his father Daedalus, attempted to escape from imprisonment in Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Daedalus, warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, so the sea’s dampness would not clog his wings or the sun’s heat melt them. Icarus ignored his father’s instructions and flew too close to the sun; the wax in his wings melted, the feathers fell off and he tumbled out of the sky and into the sea where he drowned.

Icarus is us and the Anthropocene. It is our attempt to emancipate ourselves from nature, to objectify it as an extraneous body, to exceed it, to become its ruler and the ruler of all the beings placed in its kingdom, giving us an excuse to act as if they were not alive as we are, they were not equally legitimated to exist. The dynamic of “othering” through naturalization have been the epistemological justification for exterminations, genocides and exploitation throughout history.

Tata Inti  doesn’t try to get closer to the sun and enter in relation with it through our anthropocentric hubris.

Instead what it does is to play with the way in which the sun and the air interact with each other in thermodynamic balance. When Tanta Inti flies, it traces a narrative thread in the terrestrial  tapestry, that allow us to read the interlacement of the world, the entanglement of different forces that create the condition of life, becoming an interpreter of one of the many languages of the ecosphere.

To overcome the dichotomy between man and nature would lead us to the impossibility of ethically dividing the existing into two categories: subject and object, in which nature is always an object and it is assigned to a “diminished” order of reality, something that is up for grab, existing to serve us.

In this time of crisis, where appropriating is not enough, due to the more and more limited amount of natural resources, we are actually working to replace nature, and, as contemporary Icaro we are punished by our own blindness, the inability to reconsider the organism we are part of, once again thinking of it as an object without agency.

During the Tata Inti performance, the movements of the Aerocene sculptures in the air become aerogliphs; their trajectories are inscriptions that compose a codex, a codex that allow us to interpret the atmosphere, the strata that is created by the interaction of the planet with other cosmic bodies. As any language, it is both written and oral: catching infrasound, it gives a voice to the murmur of the world, recording the vibratory score of worldly events.

In such a way, the Aerocene sculptures embrace the earth, the air and the sun, dance at their dance and with their simplicity become an envelope that contain their entangled movements.

If “the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life” (Wittgenstein) then the aeroglyph of Aerocene unravel a language that composes poems in the air, and tells us of a new form of life, a post-anthropocenic, one that rediscovers the lure of earthly phenomena and acts following the paths traced by its invisible forces. Its fluctuation echo a re-enchantment that comes from afar, and it’s embodied in the multifarious mythological repertoire that humans built since the beginning: the Andean cosmology of Tata Inti, the Father Sun, also called the Life Giver, or the astronomical calendar inscribed on the Nazcas geoglyphs, or again Helios in ancient greek mythology, that Icarus wasn’t able to reach.

As an aerial stele, it will remain for the posterity as a testimony of a different epoch, the one of the Aerocene, a wish to overcome the bifurcation between man and nature.

“Instead of there being a separation of subject and object, there is an entanglement of subject and object, which is called the “phenomenon.” Karen Barad

With the support of CCK

#aeroceneargentina #aerocene #cck #tecnopolis #mediosycontenidos

Jujuy, Argentina performance participants

Alicia de Arteaga, Maxi Bellman, Martín Bonadeo, Joaquín Ezcurra, Agustina de Ganay, Guido Ignatti, Maximiliano Laina, Pablo Lapadula, Inés Leyba, Eduardo Marengo, Ana Martínez Quijano, Tomás Saraceno, Sven Steudte, Pio Torroja,
Gabriela Urtiaga

Tecnopolis workshop and performance participants

Sabrina Martinez Zunni, Guido Poloni, Sofia Petit de Meurville, Laura Daldin, Laura Nieves, Magdalena Molinari, Analia Laura Palavecino, Yisell Sarasua, Mauricio Florentino, Martín Bonadeo, Pablo La Padula, Maximiliano Bellmann, Mateo Amaral, Hernán Soriano, Alfio Demestre, Mariano Giraud, Daniela Gutierrez. Patricia Saragueta, Erica Bohm, Guadalupe Pardo, Oliverio Duhalde, Santiago Orti, Joaquin Ezcurra, Agustina de Ganay, Guido Ignatti, Tomás Saraceno, Sven Steudte, Mauricio Corbalán


If you would like to experiment with the Aeroglyphs created in Jujuy, you can find them liked below and feel free to download them. You only need Google Earth soft installed on your computer, by double-clicking file, the balloon’s trajectory will open.

This project was possible thanks to the support of

Centro Cultural Kirchner

Free Flight Schönefeld 22 JUL 2017


Helianthus Free Flight

Schönfelde,  Germany


travel the world without wind,                    by becoming the wind.

Launch place : Schönfelde.
Date: 22 July
Time: From 7am on 
Sunrise Time: 5:08 Am Sunset Time: 9:12 Pm
Weather: Partially cloudy, 17-27º Main Wind Direction: East Average Wind Speed: 10 Km/h
Field Condition: OkField Options: OkPermissions: Ok

Become lighter than air. That´s our dream, the utopia we are trying to unfold,

In a world made of boundaries, Aerocene  is working toward a demilitarization and decolonization of the sky, to build a community that will take to the air in the spirit of a new era, and raise a new awareness of the air we all breath. This is another attempt to float within the natural rhythms of the Earth and its atmosphere, by observing the ocean above us.


In the middle of a kindly warm German summer, six experimental solar balloons have been tested by representatives of the Aerocene community and the team.

The weather was perfect for the use of another instrument: the inflating bicycle, whose only power source is directly applied human effort. A fan attached to the back wheel filled up the balloons with air, without using any electricity, and it gave us the possibility to watch the balloons becoming bigger and bigger very quickly.

Helianthus and the Explorer Quartet hovered above the grass field for a while, dancing among people, tuning with the Earth beat. After a while however, it was time for the spheres to rest, and the team followed.

“Being balloon is to fly, certainly, but it is more so to float without much haste, perhaps just a little buoyant, maybe even just hovering above the ground, imperceptibly”. 

Peter Adey

Next float up was the black Aerocene Helianthus Explorers duo, chosen to be our free travelers for the day. Equipped with cameras, GPS trackers and an infrasound recorder, they surfed the air above Schönfelde, crossing the ceiling of the clouds and detecting the symphony played by the living particles in the air.

Aerocene Helianthus Explorers traveled 480 km distance, floating in the skies for over 7 hours, reaching 15353 m altitude, all without any carbon, fossil fuels, helium, hydrogen, burners, or engines – using only air currents and the heat of the sun.

Aerocene Helianthus Flight has been one of the longest flight in the history of Aerocene experiments. It has been chased for two days and retrieved by our experts the night of 24.07.2017 in Łączno, Poland. For the team, it was a beautiful surprise to discover that the balloons were already been folded and kept safe by an extraordinary kind family from the village, which realized the importance of the flying sculptures and helped them out.


“Aerocene is a project about friendship, about the relationship between air, universe, humans, sun, animals, plants, planets. It is a project showing how shared enthusiasm becomes the common ground to shared dreams. Where time becomes different, where energy and inspiration are endless resources.

I can only hope that this family will grow even bigger.”

Tomás Saraceno

Aerocene floating at Forest of Imagination in Bath 29 June – 2 July 2017

Aerocene floating at

Forest of Imagination in Bath

29 June – 2 July 2017

A four-day participatory, contemporary arts event and creative learning programme, Forest of Imagination is delivered by a collaborative team of local creative organisations in Bath, UK. Transforming a familiar public place into an inclusive space for contemporary creativity and intuitive play, the festival offers an immersive experience for participants through interactive installations, artworks and workshops. Forest of Imagination is free and open to all.

This years edition of the festival takes the idea of our ‘natural home’ into the unique landscape of Bushey Norwood located right on the edge of the city of Bath. This prehistoric meadow landscape, with mature open grown trees surrounded by pockets of woodland and elevated views, has many similarities to the African savannah, often considered the first human habitat. This provides the perfect setting to explore the idea of where we feel most at home – is it in the city or in the nature?


During the festival, an Aerocene Explorer Sculpture was launched to further investigate the importance of our atmosphere, collaborating with forgotten supply chains – the planet itself.

The sculpture flew high above Bushey Norwood, only using wind currents and the heat of the sun. The air-fuelled sculpture reached up to eight metres in size, without fossil fuels, helium, solar panels or batteries. An exploration into navigation, architecture, the future of human habitation and the environment, Aerocene sculptures were born among Aerocene Foundation after having expanded together with its worldwide community.

“Bushey Norwood proved the perfect place for linking the city of Bath to the forest edge. The landscape’s ancient trees, wooded dells and meadows all called for exploration. Many visitors to the event have remarked on how the beautiful walks between the installations were an integral part of the creative Forest experience. On behalf of the event organisers, I would like to thank all those who came to visit Forest and hope they enjoyed discovering this lesser known part of Bath in its full summer glory.” Andrew Grant, Director of Grant Associates and co-founder of Forest of Imagination, comments.

The launch was been possible thanks to the Aerocene Foundation and Forest of Imagination Organization and volunteers.

Whatch the video here and share your thoughts with us!

All the images are taken from Forest of Imagination Aerocene Movie

Aerocene Istanbul

On 1st of June our Aerocene friend Yelta Köm launched the Explorer in Istanbul shores with group of people from Architecture for All. Here you can find their Aerocene Log of the flight.

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