The backgrounds to the inflatable performance space.


Synergetica Lab Located in Amsterdam, Synergetica is an art-science laboratory, investigating photonics, fluid dynamics, acoustics, quantum chemistry and psychophysics. In addition to providing a platform for artists working in these domains, Synergetica serves as a curatorial and educational entity, disseminating interdisciplinary art works and art-science research. //

ArtScience Interfaculty The ArtScience Interfaculty is an interdisciplinary bachelor and master program that fosters curiosity driven research as an approach for the making of art. The program considers art and science as a continuum and promotes the development of new art forms and artistic languages. The ArtScience Interfaculty is embedded in both the Royal Conservatoire and The Royal Academy for Fine Arts in The Hague, The Netherlands. //


This project is part of a series of shapes, spaces and wearables that forms an ongoing strand of research by Cocky Eek into the pneumatology and tactility of inflatables and lightweight spaces. She describes some of her research questions, observations, inspirations and ideas in this text:

What would it be like to be engulfed by a world of total perception, in which all the senses are triggered? A space where the boxers between outside and inside dissolve?

In Sphaerae art, science, nature, philosophy and everyday life meet. It becomes a zone that stimulates new imagines. Sphaerae is a light-weight, portable pavilion. She consists of five semi-transparent bubbles of different sizes, which together form a multi-dome construction. A small ventilator transforms air into a building material that forces her delicate membrane into shape. The surface becomes a carrier of immersive experiences with tailor-made works that follow the topology of the spherical architecture.

The pavilion emerged from my research: how can an inflatable shape be created that immerses people into a synaesthetic environment? While searching for guidelines to create optimal inflatable spaces for such experiences I came across the writings of Christopher Alexander. In 1977 he developed a pattern language for Living Architecture.

Based on his experiments I've developed a distinct pattern language for inflatable architecture and evaluated the limitations of existing inflatable architecture. It showed that off-gassing, uncomfortable climates, noisy fabric, anchoring, entrances and exits were problematic patterns. This Pneumatology research has been documented online.

Sphaerae brakes with these problematic patterns by it's innovative construction and materials, by which an environment is created that nourishes the visitor. The entire construction can be carried, set-up and broken down by two people. Sphaerae is modular, so it can adapt to its environment. The semi-transparent membrane functions as a two-way interface between inner- and outer worlds. The surface is permeable to the natural environment but keeps out sun, wind and rain.

The thin, unruly skin feels smooth and flexible, doesn't give off nasty plastic smells, isn't noisy when it's moved or touched and can be repaired or cleaned easily, making it more sustainable. The white space dampens external distractions and makes images and sound more intimate and direct. The architectural skin makes it a comfortable space to be in for prolonged periods of time.

The five spaces have different heights which gives them different properties. Lower domes are more intimate, high ones more formal. The entrance is a unique airlock based on two membranes that are pushed together by the air pressure. This passage creates an intermediate stage between the outer- and inner world and helps the visitor to adapt to this synaesthetic space.

Cocky Eek - Pneumatology was published during gRig | Aug 2009 | at FoAM