Inflate / Deflate, 11 inflatable letters, solar panels, leisure batteries, electric fans and variable sunlight

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Inflate / deflate consists of eleven inflatable letters created from stitched Oxford fabric. Solar panels trickle charge leisure batteries which power electric fans to inflate the sculpture to spell ‘sustainable’. The frequency and duration of the inflation and deflation of the work is dependent on the amount of sunlight available each day. When the batteries are fully charged they are able to power the fans to inflate the work, however, the work collapses when the charge is lost or insufficient.

The work is often encountered in its collapsed state and only fleetingly experienced when fully inflated.

A consequence of this seeming failure is that the sculpture and its technologies are often perceived as lacking. Andy’s interest is in how perceived flaws and failings, as embodied in the sculpture, might act as a catalyst for discussion and reflection on ideas about failure, success and problem solving, and in this instance provoke many more questions than if the work was constantly inflated.

The works material realisation is also problematic as it is made out of several metres of vinyl material, manufactured and shipped to the UK from Hong Kong and as such embodies and performs many of the problems associated with unsustainable living. As such this acts as a further provocation to discussions about what should and what should not be considered as sustainable. 

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