Monumental Windbags

“Instead of being an object of privileged vision, the balloon was necessarily the visual property of everyone in the crowd. On the ground it was still, to some extent, an aristocratic spectacle; in the air it became democratic…The sense that they [the crowd] were witnessing a liberating event – an augury of a free-floating future – gave them a kind of temporary fellowship in the open air…These conditions ensured the success of a way of thinking that reflected an oversimplified alienation in the guise of a ‘critique of the consumer society’.” (Dessauce, 1999, pg.23/38)

I’ve begun to think a lot more on how I could design the museum within the city fabric and also how would it occupy space. Been reading up on The Inflatable Moment: Pneumatics and Protest in ’68 (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pGzZYJd4BmwC&pg=PT113&lpg=PT113&dq=The+inflatable+moment:+pneumatics+and+protest+in+%2768&source=bl&ots=LgqmAVvdJH&sig=1josLb5-NzDqcvyyzePLmrsFBVc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiN3diZ0ILLAhUG1XIKHa4CBXIQ6AEIKjAC#v=onepage&q&f=false), and in the book the writers discuss the means of occupying air and how does it challenge conventional thinking in architecture. It also ties in with the political student protests in Europe and the USA in 1968. I like how they described the inflatable structures as a way to avoid architecture or to be against it. There is a sense of defiance here that could tie back to my project on the eternal parade; resisting death. I began to think how I could inject my museum into the city and in a way defy the current city vitrine as the constraint for the architecture. I started to look at some examples of projects like :

AnishKapoor_Monumenta_4 AnishMonumenta_lede

Anish Kapoor’s project in Paris (http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663828/in-paris-anish-kapoor-unveils-giant-rubber-balls-you-can-walk-in).

redball_04 RedBall

And the Red Ball Project by Kurt Perschke (http://redballproject.com/).

I’ve been figuring out a way to redesign the shrine/death monument and am thinking of an initial programme to have the eternal parade as a pilgrimage through the established parade route (including points of preparation in New Jersey and the Inflation party in front of the Natural History Museum) that ends in Macy’s Herald Square as the Mecca of Consumerism. I was initially thinking, along the route, to have the shrines at every possible Macy’s outlet as a contradictory critique on consumerism but after researching, I found out that the Herald Square HQ is the only store on the island.

As for the model, I am experimenting with broken balloon and plastic pieces to create a structural form (http://seansaidplay.blogspot.co.uk/2007/08/how-to-make-giant-inflatable-walrus.html). During the crit in Week 1, Helen mentioned about creating a new form of structure from broken pieces of parade balloons and I think that is an interesting idea to push the project, however my model has not been successful so far. I am planning to construct pieces of inflatable chambers based on this 3D model that I did.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 01.30.22

Another method of modelling I am looking at is to create pressed layers of broken balloon pieces together and to dissect them like Jorge’s research on subway paint layers. I am not quite sure what I want to achieve with the model but I am trying to play around to see what these processes could inform on the project.

Till then x

One thought on “Monumental Windbags

  1. Lots of interesting ideas at play here – I like that the balloons could start to discuss ownership and democracy through the volumetric space they occupy/ breaking the vitrine etc. I also thought what Kurt Perschke says about the red ball project is provocative in how it transforms an audience from passive to active: “In that moment the person is not a spectator but a participant in the act of imagination,” which is the architectural potential of your project.
    I like that the shrines could be made differently in different places depending on what you want to draw people’s attention to: i.e. a shrine to dead balloons could be an exquisite corpse inflatable balloon made up of different pieces of dead characters vs. a shrine to the layering or embedding of balloons in the city’s fabric could be made of the compressed layers of plastic that each date to different moments in the parades history? The shrines would each be highly defined, inhabitable and meaningful objects and their positioning in the city would construct an extended parade route that would encompass both the parade and the making of, a new form of religious pilgrimage to come to terms with mortality/ immortality? For technology, start to think about seams, details of how to compress, combine, join, inhabit these volumetric chambers and the acts of imagination you would like your audience to participate in to connect your pilgrimage to the thanksgiving parade.
    Here are some retro inflatable examples and how they manifested counter-culture: http://architizer.com/blog/retrospective-the-incredible-inflatable-architecture-of-the-1960s/ and
    http://www.fastcompany.com/1278085/brief-history-inflatable-architecture
    Yours are the contemporary version in that they manifest consumer culture! Keep going with the design of the shrines and your extended pilgrimage route for Tuesday.

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