Over the winter we collaborated with activist arts org Coltura and artist Samaj on a large installation meant to illustrate how an addiction to gasoline is slowly poisoning our habitat. Abyx is a large inflatable which attaches to the exhaust pipe of a vehicle; when inflated the interior serves as a stage for Coltura's performance and theater.
The installation will be making its official debut on June 2nd in Westlake Park where Coltura will present 'The Gas Trap' a theatrical and performance piece conducted inside the inflatable.
The inflatable, dubbed ABYX by Samaj, was a chance for us to explore some alternative means of construction and experiment with materials. We experimented with several construction processes like heat welding using irons, melting with heat guns, and even glue. Ultimately we discovered that our preferred material (an ultra clear protective window film) would grip itself quite well in the lateral direction and all we needed was to use our usual tape method to reinforce.
The extremely clear plastic was necessary in order for the piece to work as a stage which slowly and visibly fills with smoke over the course of a performance. While it appears that the cars is expelling exhaust into the inflatable we used a hidden smoke machine and a large fan to do the work (& keep the actors from dying). Because of its scale and necessary inclusion of an actual vehicle the first true test inflation of the piece didn't occur until an event earlier this spring at the Miller Community Center. That event was an opportunity to view the piece at scale, critique elements and chart a plan to make any tweaks.
Two weeks ago we took the entire installation out to the woods north of Seattle for a fun promotional shoot with photographer Kevin Scott. His spectacular images (seen at the aforementioned link) capture the story of 'The Gas Trap' in a very evocative way.
The piece will be going on tour this summer around the Pacific Northwest, follow Coltura's feed for more info about those upcoming events.
Team: Seattle Design Nerds: Trevor Dykstra, Chris Wong, James Taylor, Letao Tao, Hannah Baker, Emily Danchik, Rheanna Pless, Kristopher Miller, Geoff Henke, Phoebe Lam, Michelle Li, April Soetarman, Elise Leob, Joy Jin, Marta Kapoyos. Coltura: Matthew Metz, Alyssa Norling, Grace Orr, Thomas. Samaj Fine Arts