Postponed: Aerocene sculpture launch postponed indefinitely

Join collaborators from the Haggerty Museum of Art, Opus College of Engineering to attempt to launch a floating sculpture made from recycled plastic

**Due to inclement weather and forecasted cloud cover on proposed launch days, this event has been postponed indefinitely. The aerocene requires sunlight for flight, a launch attempt will need to be made in conjunction with favorable weather and sunlight conditions. Check Marquette Today for updates on this event.

Collaborators from the Haggerty Museum of Art and the Opus College of Engineering will be attempting to launch the campus’ first aerosolar sculpture – a structure made entirely of recycled plastic bags that is expected to float similar to a hot air balloon. Instead of relying on burning fossil fuel like hot air balloons, the sculpture’s flight will be powered by energy from the sun. 

The sculpture will be handmade by members of the Marquette and Milwaukee community at the Haggerty Museum of Art’s pARTy at the Museum event on Thursday, April 27. To construct the sculpture, community support is needed before the launch to cut, decorate and repurpose hundreds of plastic bags that have been collected through multiple campus donation sites.

Tomás Saraceno, “Aerocene PM2.5” (2015), launched in Schönfelde, Germany, March 4, 2017; inkjet print (2022), 24 x 16 1/8 inches, photo print of “Aerocene PM2.5” sculpture comprised of 240 cubic meters of air, ETFE foil, PM2.5, sun, air, and wind after takeoff (image courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles), on display at the Haggerty Museum of Art.

Attendees of the May 6 launch event are welcome to watch or join in as Dr. Somesh Roy, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the Opus College of Engineering, and his collaborators attempt to hoist the sculpture into the air for sustained, tethered flight. 

The idea is inspired by the Aerocene movement, which leads global initiatives to create similar sculptures that raise environmental awareness among communities. The most recent Aerocene launch occurred on Wednesday, April 5, in Paris, France, and included a human passenger. Aerocene was devised by Tomás Saraceno, whose work is featured in the Haggerty Museum of Art’s Entangled Air exhibition. 

Marquette’s sculpture is part of the community programming developed alongside the Entangled Air exhibition, which concludes on Sunday, May 21. 

A smaller scale sculpture is created by students at the Haggerty Museum of Art as part of Engineers Week at Marquette.

There is no RSVP required and attendees are welcome to come and go throughout the event. Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own chairs, any lunch or snacks they would like, and participate however they feel comfortable. Whether the sculpture will fly or not will depend on weather conditions and the sculpture’s design, so attendees are invited to come by, join in and see what happens. Due to inclement weather conditions on the original date of Tuesday, May 2, and rain date of Saturday, May 6, this event is postponed indefinitely.