Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, California is hosting Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art, a special exhibit of inflatable sculptures, this spring. The exhibition was organized by museum curator Carrie Lederer and will run through June 21.
Blow Up includes inflatable works created by artists Claire Ashley, Lee Boroson, Lewis deSoto, Patrick Flibotte, Billie G. Lynn, Guy Overfelt, Momoyo Torimitsu, and Andy Warhol. They include a seascape that was specially commissioned for the exhibit, two giant bunnies that were created in Japan, and an inflatable car. Blow Up will also include video documenting inflatable works created by Christo and Jeanne-Claude and Joshua Allen Harris.
Visitors to the exhibit at the Bedford Gallery can even sit on some of the inflatables. The exhibit includes blow-up chairs in the shape of four-foot-tall inflatable dogs and dog toys.
The exhibit looks at imaginative ways in which artists can use air to create large-scale sculptures. The imagery included in the exhibition is figurative, conceptual, and abstract. The pieces are intended to be accessible and rich in meaning. They use the viewer’s perception of space and unexpected materials to create a dialogue about pop culture and society.
The exhibition is funded by the Lesher Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Diablo Regional Arts Association, and the National Endowment for the Arts. After it completes its initial run at the Bedford Gallery, the exhibit of inflatable sculptures will travel to galleries and museums in Arizona, Alabama, Oregon, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, and Colorado. It will tour museums and galleries across the United States for the next three years.
Up & Go, an Australian company that produces breakfast drinks, is promoting its recent introduction into the UK market by setting up an inflatable Sydney Harbour Bridge assault course. The inflatable obstacle course will be on London’s Southbank from April 22 to 26.
The Up & Go Bounce Off is a timed obstacle course. Contestants will compete on hurdles, tunnels, punch bags, a trampoline bridge, and a ball pit. They will fight for positions on the leader board, and the competitors with the fastest times each day will be awarded prizes.
The bridge will be 25 meters long and eight meters high, which will make it the largest inflatable bridge ever built anywhere in the world. It will be accompanied by an inflatable version of the Sydney Opera House to celebrate Up & Go’s Australian roots. The site will also have beverages, bean bags, and published race times.
Photographers will be present at the contest each day to capture images of the competitors. The pictures will be able to be shared instantly on social media.
The inflatable obstacle course will travel to several university campuses throughout the UK, including Portsmouth, Leicester, Nottingham, and Kent, in May. Students will be able to compete against students at other universities, and the winners will be awarded a trophy.
Up & Go’s goal is to encourage its customers to be active in the morning and throughout the day. They decided to use the Up & Go Bounce Off to launch their brand in the UK, celebrate their Australian heritage, and promote friendly competition.
On Tuesday, April 7, the day that elections for mayor and other local offices were held in Chicago, election officials asked that a sign in support of incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel be removed from a two story tall inflatable figure of Uncle Sam.
The inflatable was placed on the lawn at a private residence that was also being used as a polling place. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners received a photo and complaint from a voter and sent investigators to the site. They determined that the inflatable figure was within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling place. This was considered electioneering and was a violation of Chicago election law.
According to the Board of Election Commissioners, the inflatable was set up long before Election Day. It was unclear who put the pro-Emanuel sign on the inflatable man’s chest.
Officials gave the owner of the inflatable Uncle Sam figure three options: move the balloon, deflate it, or remove the pro-Emanuel sign. The owner decided to remove the sign.
Emanuel beat Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to win a second term as mayor. Tuesday’s election was a runoff that was held because neither candidate had won 50 percent plus one vote in the first round of voting. The same was true in some aldermanic races the first time.
According to the Board of Election Commissioners, few complaints were filed by the public, other than the one about the inflatable man. The Board did have to dismiss three election judges the morning of the voting for inappropriate behavior at the polling places where they were working.
Key Safety Systems, a parent company of Aviation Occupant Safety LLC, has received a patent for its Safety Restraint Protection for Aircraft Occupants Seated Facing the Side of the Aircraft.
The patent is for an inflatable, monument-mounted device that can be used in both commercial and business aircraft. The technology is used to protect passengers who are seated in positions perpendicular to the cabin of the airplane. The restraint system was developed to comply with Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.
The inflatable restraints can dramatically reduce the amount of lateral movement in the aircraft’s cabin. They can absorb forces from both passenger-to-passenger and passenger-to-cabin structure impacts.
The inflatable restraints are designed to protect passengers from injuries to the head and torso caused by lateral movement and to prevent lateral injury from leg flail, which can occur when people seated laterally get injured because their legs are unsecured. Key Safety Systems’ leg flail restraints have been shown during tests to dramatically reduce the number of leg flail injuries.
The technology is similar to the side airbags in a car and provides better passenger safety than other types of restraints. The engineers who designed the inflatable restraints tried to give them an appearance and to put them in locations that would allow them to blend into the aircraft’s interior and not interfere with its aesthetics.
The restraints are already being used on a mid-size airplane model. Now that the patent has been approved and the technology has been proven to be safe and effective, it can be sold to other aircraft manufacturers.
NASA just conducted a test of its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The LDSD is 4.5 meters wide and weighs three tons. Rather than using motors to slow a vehicle as it enters a planet’s atmosphere, a brake shield called the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator inflates to begin to increase the vehicle’s size and atmospheric pull to slow it down. Then a 33.5-meter-wide Supersonic Ring Sail Parachute, the biggest parachute ever used, is deployed to slow the vehicle further so that it can land safely.
The system is designed to allow sizable payloads to be landed on the surface of Mars and to allow landings at higher elevations. NASA wants to be able to land vehicles, freight, humans, and housing that could weigh up to 40,000 kilograms.
On March 31, NASA conducted a “spin table” test to look for any wobbles that might be caused by uneven distribution of mass in the LDSD. Any wobbles could be corrected by inserting small masses around the rim. LDSD supervisors answered questions from the public during the televised test.
The LDSD was first tested in June 2014. It was dropped from a helium inflatable and used a rocket engine to push it higher into the atmosphere, but the parachute failed to deploy properly and it crashed into the ocean.
NASA modified the shape of the parachute and made it stronger after the problem with last June’s test. This June, NASA plans to repeat that test at the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Testing will continue later in 2015. NASA plans to send the LDSD to Mars in 2020 at the earliest.