'Cloud City': Like Walking Inside A Kaleidoscope

May 16, 2012
Originally published on May 16, 2012 6:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In New York City, there's a new structure taking shape high above Central Park.

ANNE STRAUSS: Once we started to hoist the modules with an enormous crane, people became aware of it. You can see if from great distances.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That's Anne Strauss, an associate curator at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. She's talking about a new exhibit in the Met's rooftop garden called "Cloud City."

GREENE: The piece stands 28 feet tall, and it's composed of 16 many-sided pods. Think here about something looking like a space station, or maybe an outcrop of gemstones that you can climb inside and explore.

STRAUSS: You're walking through it. And you're seeing slices of the city turned upside down.

INSKEEP: Some of the floors are transparent. The walls are mirrored steel, or open to the air. It's like walking inside a kaleidoscope, we're told, a kaleidoscope that blends real views with mirror images of the sky and the city.

GREENE: Tomas Saraceno is the Argentine artist who created "Cloud City," And he says the design was inspired by the foam in your drink.

TOMAS SARACENO: When you drink milk with chocolate from a bottle or from a bottle of beer, and then you see the geometry of the foam, this is a little bit of the geometry of how we build the structure.

INSKEEP: He says the principle here is to create structures that look light enough to float away.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SARACENO: That would be nice. That's what I want it to be. Maybe it's in the future.

GREENE: Weighing in at 20 tons, "Cloud City" is not likely to float off. But Saraceno says having it on the roof of the Met is a good place to start. The exhibit will be open until November, and it's expected to draw more than a half a million visitors. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.