It's Not A Bubble

It's Not A Bubble (2016)

Taurin Barrera and Bill Baird

Mylar Thermal Blankets, Custom Electronics, Computer Fans, Computer Speakers

Interactive inflatable installation realized at the 7th Soundwaves Bienniele, San Francisco CA, July 2016. It was truly unique and special.  Once realized, the installation felt like a living creature.  It seemed like a weird sea creature and the lights and sound only reinforced that impression.  

Anyways, here's our write-up:

It's not a bubble.  It's a penumatic mylar structure (a prolate spheroid, to be exact) controlled by the oscillations of hacked CPU cooling fans.  Touching the conductive surface activates a multi-channel surround speaker system and multiple projectors.   Contact and magnetic induction microphones transduce the rustling of the expanding and contracting mylar into sound that is processed in realtime using data scraped from the NASDAQ composite index.

The title of the installation can be taken literally, but it also references specific Bay Area concerns, namely the supposed current tech "bubble," which we believe to be merely another wave of innovations, as has been the norm since the days of '49.  The spheroid inflates and deflates, but it never "pops."  Use of materials reflects these concerns as well.  Mylar thermal blankets are part of the "emergency kits" advised for all Bay Area households in anticipation of the "big one" (mega earthquake).   This anxiety probably extends to the current tech boom as well, with more than a few folks wondering "Am I Creating the Robot Who Will Do My Job Better Than Me?"