“He won’t get far on hot air and fantasy!” Jonathan Pryce exclaims in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Made from 18th-century knickers, the movie’s dirigible is no more fantastical than Museo Aero Solar, a balloon composed of recycled plastic bags gathered around the world. Since 2007, artists Alberto Pesavento and Tomás Saraceno have held community workshops in seven countries, inviting locals to bring in bags to attach to the balloon, which grows in size with each new location.
“Museo Aero Solar stands for a different conception of space and energy,” Pesavento says of the design, which, instead of relying on helium, rises when the sun heats the air inside. “We like the idea of using trash to make something new while generating a common effort.” It is the community-fueled angle of this ecological experiment that intrigued Yasmil Raymond, a Walker Arts Center curator who invited the pair to be this month’s artists-in-residence. In addition to holding workshops, they will collaborate with the University of Minnesota’s aerospace department on a video monitor to capture the earth from the balloon. “Our work is about the air, but everything takes place on the ground,” Pesavento says. “We think about air as a way to solve the political and environmental problems we have on earth.” www.walkerart.org