Tomás Saraceno: The Time of the Spiders, 2017

A documentary video about the expeditions and research undertaken by Tomás Saraceno for his exhibition "Tomás Saraceno: How to Catch the Universe in a Spider Web" which was held at the Museo Moderno between 7 April, 2017 and 19 March, 2018, featuring teams from the Studio Tomás Saraceno in Berlin, the Museo Moderno and the Bernardino Rivadavia Museum of Natural Sciences in Buenos Aires, as well as 7000 Parawixia bistriata, social spiders native to Argentina who lived in the museum’s galleries for 6 months before the exhibition opened.

Find out more about this project in

Video credits:
Director: Maximiliano Laina. Photography Director: Alejandro Ortigueira. Editor: Gabriela Sorbi. Camera operators: Alejandro Ortigueira, Maximiliano Laina, Adrián Lersch Krell, Tomás Saraceno, Severio Cantoni. Music: Martín Torres Manzur. Voiceover: Sofía Lemus.

The Planet as a Single Organism

Every year since 1992, Florencia Bohtlingk has headed to the settlement of
La Flor in the middle of the Misiones jungle to recharge her batteries. There, she
studies the movements of local residents of different nationalities: human bodies
emerging from the jungle to settle in new but also familiar territory. La boca del
Infierno (The Mouth of Hell, 2019) depicts this movement. It is an artwork that
shows us that in the lush undergrowth everything is alive and all that life is part
of the same flow. Every creature interacts with each other like the dance of a body
made up of thousands of different organisms. Within that complex ecosystem the wave
of human migration is coloured red by the earth, adopts the snaking form of the river
and mingles with families of parakeets, monkeys and plants. In the green chaos of the
jungle, everything overlaps and links together and there is no sense of hierarchy
between figure and backdrop, just different scales that elude attempts to focus on
one alone. The immense painting demonstrates that the jungle should not merely be seen
from the outside but rather experienced from within through a body that is also part
of a greater whole, one that is always changing, that possesses independent organs,
that is sometimes abstract and sometimes blurred, occasionally coming into sharp focus
for a moment before disappearing into its camouflage once more.

The artwork we have chosen this week depicts a very relevant symbiosis between
society and nature in which both are demonstrably part of a single universe. If there
is something we can learn – or remember – from the coronavirus crisis it is that our
skin is more porous, vast and permeable than we think. Today more than ever we
understand that the earth is a complex network of interdependent organisms and that
the interspecies movement of the virus, the impact of its mutations and its aggressive
nature are directly related to the climate crisis, exploitation of natural resources,
the agricultural industry and other disruptions to the natural equilibrium in the
Anthropocene era. If we tried viewing the atmosphere as a skin protecting a single,
interdependent organism we might start to look at things on a more expansive scale
and begin to see how human beings act similarly to a virus, raising the earth’s
temperature as though it had a fever, eating away at the Amazon like a giant pair of
lungs. Wartime metaphors that treat the current threat as an external enemy overlook
the socio-environmental causes of the pandemic, which are very much the work of
humanity. What if we began to realize that we are the enemy? Might it be a start
along the path to a better future?

Esta semana, desde el Museo Moderno proponemos pensar al ser humano sin
separarlo de la naturaleza: en la red de especies en la que estamos inmersos y en la

La boca del infierno

Florencia Bohtlingk (1966)
La boca del infierno, 2019
Acrílico y óleo sobre tela 
230 x 630 cm
Colección Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires
(Adquisición Comité de Adquisiciones 2019)


This week at the Museo Moderno we present a view of humanity as an inextricable
part of nature: a link in a chain of species that must be regarded as an interdependent
organism. Recently, many of us have watched videos of a pair of condors squabbling
with three poodles in the window of a skyscraper, guanacos wandering the beaches of
Puerto Pirámides, a family of coypu take over Tigre station, a swamp deer walking
stealthily through an abandoned leisure area on the Río Capitán and a massive Monarch
butterfly interrupt a teleconference in Almagro. We have been witnessing the two sides of
this quarantine: while human beings stay at home, nature is revived. We might be amazed
by how quickly wild animals recover and how starkly this exposes what we have done to
our ecosystems. What are the ethical, legal and biological limits that should exist between
civilization and nature, animals and humans? How should we coexist? Could we use this
pandemic to find new ways of living together?

                                                                                                                   Javier Villa
                                                                                                            Curador Senior

New online

Saraceno online



The book Tomás Saraceno: How to Entangle the Universe in a Spider Web
represented a huge challenge to be faithful to the visual beauty of this work,
produced by the filaments of light traced by the spider webs in the dark and
the vast span of their conceptual power. The result is this publication in close
collaboration with the artist, whose immaculate photography and design
combine to convey the experience of Saraceno’s installations at the Museo
Moderno, and the whole process of research and production. At once an
illustration of a work of art and a metaphor for its meanings, the relationship
between spider webs and cosmic dust, between the macrocosm and
microcosm that make up the tissue of life, is also expressed and expanded
on in the book’s texts: a complex fabric of extended essays on art and
literature, short scientific, cultural or critics statements and literary narratives.