Thursday Salute to Originals: Artwork With A Soul

Children are fascinated by balloons. These simple objects dazzle as weightless toys bouncing to lofty heights, tentatively held to the ground by only a thin string. To adults these qualities have become mundane, yet a child can sit in awe of a balloon for hours on end. One artist stirs up the delight found in this weightlessness, spurring even the most solemn museum visitor to reach out and touch.


German artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski has created an inflatable installation that acts as both sculpture and artist. How is this possible? Her helium-filled drawing machine, named “ADA”, hangs tentatively in a gallery space, armed with spikes of charcoal that leave markings whenever the object is bounced into the walls, floor, or ceiling. The installation is activated by visitors surrendering to the innate tendency to reach out for the balloon to prevent it from hitting the floor. When touched, ADA bounces, dragging charcoal lines over pristine gallery walls.

balloon-sculpture-charcoal-markings Smigla-Bobinski-helium-art-installation

Karina describes this piece as “artwork with a soul”; and it does certainly play on the concepts of autonomy and interaction.  In fact, so much that it blurs the definition of art itself: what is the work of art here – the user, the balloon, or the markings left behind? Or the entire human/machine experience?

Interestingly, as the installation moves to different venues, the artist retires the previously used ADA and reconstructs an entirely original one for the new exhibition.  Embedded in the memory of ADA is the simultaneous experience of kinetic art, drawing, performance, and sculpture, at once.


This Thursday, we salute Karina Smigla-Bobinski for managing to capture so many facets of the artistic experience in a simple expression of form. We would love to get our hands on ADA, and perhaps experiment with inserting it into various forms of architecture to study the markings left when bouncing off different planes and materials.  A bounce house for architects, if you will! We’ll salute to that.

Source: Smigla-Bobinski