The Oddly Mesmerizing Inflation and Deflation of 108 Computer-Controlled Trash Bags

I've been impressed by Nils Voelker's work before, but frankly I wasn't sure how his new piece, a wall of 108 plastic trash bags inflated by computer cooling fans, could be that good. Then I watched the video. [NilsVoelker]


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It reminds me of how cephalopods (think squid and octo) achieve near-magical instantaneous color change. Imagine a perforated surface - like basketball shorts, or the toe of a pair of running shoes. And nestled inside every perforation is a little bulb filled with a pigment, sometimes multiple pigments. Those pigment-filled bulbs are then squeezed from the bottom forcing the pigment into their tops and squeezing them through the perforation and making them visible on the surface. When the contraction resides the pigment sinks back below the surface of the perforated skin.

This "trashbag+fan" installation seems oddly organic because that is precisely what it mimics. Very cool to seem something so micro exist in such a macro form.