Tomás Saraceno
Ha Chi Ki , 2021
Paper, ink, soap
75,5 x 111,2 cm

Tomás Saraceno’s Ha Chi Ki… reveal the intricate and irregular geometrical structure produced by bubbles as they meet, forming unique and unpredictable traces of breath. Ha, the word for breath in Hawaiian is related to the notion of Mana, or spiritual force. In Chinese, the word Chi means air and breath, but also alludes to the cosmic energy of life. Ki, in Japanese, has a similar meaning, often used in martial arts. These associations also appear in other languages and cultural contexts. In Greek, Pneuma weaves notions of air, breath, spirit and life energy, just as Prana, in Hindi, connects air and breath to the sacred essence of life. Samay, in Quechua, refers both to the substance of breath and the act of breathing. While each of these words responds to specific cultural settings, they point to a common impulse to locate in the breath the meeting of tangible and intangible, of matter and spirit.

Simultaneously reminiscent of the world of microscopic single-celled organisms and illustrative of the cosmic embeddedness of our Earth in an infinite choreography of celestial bodies, Saraceno’s Ha Chi Ki… experiment with new forms of envisioning our interconnectedness with other beings and elements within the web of life. This is especially urgent in the context of today’s environmental injustices and pressing racial and social inequalities. Air pollution by particulate matter killed three times as many people as the pandemic in the same amount of time. In dialogue with this reality, Ha Chi Ki… ponders: What are our inhales made of? What do we exhale into the world? And who has the right to breathe at all?


Tomás Saraceno’s practice is informed by concepts linking art, life science, and the social sciences. Enmeshed in the junction of these worlds, his floating sculptures, community projects, and immersive installations propose sensory solidarity with the planet through a social, mental, and environmental ecology of practice. For more than a decade, he has been imagining a world free from carbon, extractivism, capitalism, patriarchy and fossil fuel - or what he calls CECPF- that inflames some forms of life. In an unorthodox collaboration with cosmic webs, the air, spider/webs and indigenous communities, energies converge in a new practice of solidarity. In our era of climate emergency—when ecosystems are at risk—Saraceno’s work, deepening our understanding of environmental justice and interspecies cohabitation, carried out through the artist’s initiated projects Aerocene and Arachnophilia.