SOCIAL HELIUM is a temporary installation at the University of Texas at Austin. This cloud-like pavilion, formed by an enormous floating curtain, is supported by helium filled balloons. SOCIAL HELIUM is fun -- creating a temporary, dramatic public space.
Selected from more than 160 proposals in an international competition, SOCIAL HELIUM forms part of CURTAINS, a multi-site installation, exhibition, and publication. Sponsored by The Center for American Architecture and Design (CAAD) to explore the use of fabrics in contemporary art and architecture, the installation and exhibition will take place October 14-18, 2013 on the University campus.
SOCIAL HELIUM is partially funded by CAAD. We are donating 100% of our time and utilizing Kickstarter to raise the remainder of the material budget. We are really excited about this project and need your help to make it happen!
In this day of social media and digital relationships, physical relationships and experiences are becoming less frequent. Yet, innovation is often a product of collaboration and serendipitous encounters. University campuses foster such physical interaction. The University of Texas at Austin is a community of people, gathered from around the world, to share ideas and challenge convention. We propose to harness the power of this community by creating an unexpected public space.
Curtains are typically hung, suspended, stretched, or draped from a rigid physical support structure. Through the use of helium filled balloons, structure and curtain are a seamless and symbiotic form. The curtain, an canvas for social activity, reflects the colors and qualities of its participants and environment. The proposed white translucent fabric provides a dramatic transformation from day to night. Opalescent and fluid, the curtain shimmers and reflects sunlight, a gently swaying sculptural form. At night, with light from below, its theatrical presence invites imagination.
ARTISTS - DAN AND MICHELLE
Dan and Michelle have collaborated on various architectural projects and temporary art installations for over the past 15 years. They share a passion for the transformation of the public realm through sculptural interventions of space, building, and public art. SOCIAL HELIUM continues this lineage with a rare opportunity to dramatically transform a very familiar public space in the heart of a major university. Dan and Michelle recently completed 20ft Wide, a public-private pilot project for the City of Austin that explored a temporary pop-up space in a downtown alley. It was recently featured in ULI's Urban Land
We have partnered with a brilliant photographer, Ryann Ford, to create our incentive program. Ryann will collaborate with us to capture the essence of SOCIAL HELIUM in a stunning commemorative photograph.
Ryann Ford is a freelance photographer specializing in architecture and interiors, shooting for clients such as Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times and Texas Monthly, among others. Her current project, The Last Stop, is a series documenting the rapidly vanishing, and historically significant highway rest areas. The series has recently been featured in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic and Texas Architect. Ryann hopes to soon publish a book that will be the culmination of this almost five year project that spans over one hundred rest areas in 11 states, so far.
Here is an example from her series, The Last Stop, that demonstrates the quality of her work. More from this series may be seen here.
CLICK ON A PLEDGE OF YOUR CHOICE ON THE RIGHT COLUMN. . .
Pledge $5 or more – A heartfelt thank you.
Pledge $25 or more – A high resolution Digital Print of the installation emailed to you. You can print at home.
Pledge $50 or more – Physical Print – 5” x 7” image printed on 8” x 10” photo paper.
Pledge $100 or more – Limited Edition Physical Print – 5” x 7” image printed on high quality 8” x 10” museum grade fine art paper, signed and numbered. Print is from an edition of 50. Only 50 of these limited edition prints will be made.
Pledge $250 or more – Framed Limited Edition Physical Print – 8” x 10” image printed on museum grade fine art paper, signed and numbered. Framed in 11”x14” black painted wood frame with white beveled matte board.
Pledge $750 or more – Includes limited edition photo from $250 level + a VIP tour of the installation in Austin (no travel expenses included) by Dan and Michelle.
Pledge $1250 or more – Includes elements of $750 level plus VIP seats for the Pietra Blaisse Skype lecture, autographed copies of the exhibition program, and private tour of the exhibit.
LOOKING FOR MORE WAYS TO HELP? Come and join our team of volunteers! Be a part of the SOCIAL HELIUM's team. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to working with you!
Risks and challenges
There are challenges when taking on the design and construction of a temporary installation - especially when it is outside and you are dealing with the weather. We are managing risks with research, physical testing and mockups, expert project advisers, and hard work!
The first challenge is helium. While early indicators predict that helium shortage is going to ease up this fall, there is a slight chance that we will not be able to secure enough helium for the project. Our supplier is confident that he will have the helium when we need it.
Another challenge is the weather. In the event of inclement weather or high winds, we will need to bring the installation down. Autumn in Austin is typically gorgeous, so we are optimistic.
If for any reason we are not able to photograph SOCIAL HELIUM, we will not be able to fulfill our incentives as described. We propose to offer our backers the photograph, Teepee, (see above) from Ryann Ford's "The Last Stop" series.
Again, thank you for your help!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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