Tomás Saraceno, “The Endless Photo,” 2006

To call Tomás Saraceno a visionary is a bit of an understatement. When he looks at the sky, he sees an infinite canvas—one that stretches beyond the usual notions of nationality, property and the built environment. The Argentina-born artist and architect draws on scientific principles to create bold new models for sustainable living and thinking.

His first large-scale U.S. exhibition, Lighter than Air (on view at the Walker Art Center through Aug. 30), draws on the ecological theories of Fritjof Capra; the Austrian-American physicist asserts that, “throughout the living world, we find systems nesting within other systems. … These may be social systems—a family, a school, a village—or ecosystems.” In his latest exhibition, Saraceno brings these ideas to life, literally, with images of floating cities and a self-sustaining web of installations powered by the sun, the wind and each other.

Essentially, he’s captured his mind’s own biosphere: a future skyline where the built and the natural gracefully coexist.

Photo: Tomás Saraceno, “The Endless Photo,” 2006; C-print mounted on aluminum behind Plexiglas; edition 5 of 5; courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York