Martin Creed’s Half the Air in a Given Space
Martin Creed’s Work Half the Air in a Given Space is a brilliantly fun way to experience interactive art. As an audience member, you find yourself pushing your way through a space, whether it be a room or a hallway or a lobby, filled (only halfway) with up to 37,000 balloons. As an audience member, you are completely surrounded by marshmallows. Although the image is joyfully preposterous, as you get into the space, you find you feel a mixture of emotions, including exhilaration and disorientation, but don’t be surprised if you feel a little bit claustrophobic.
What is globophobia?
Half the Air in a Given Space can be described as an interactive installation (which is easily an understatement if anything). This is every child’s dream or every globophobic’s worst nightmare (globophobia is the fear of balloons), basically, a space that’s filled with hundreds or thousands of balloons of the same color. Half a room’s entire volume is filled with balloons, and visitors become a part of the art by walking through the balloon filled room.
How does this work make you feel?
For those who are not globophobic or claustrophobic, this piece is supposed to evoke the feeling of deep celebration and remanence of childhood memories. If you have no problem with balloons or small spaces, you can be pretty much guaranteed that you will leave the installation with a smile on your face from the touch of nostalgia you have emerged from.
Video: Interview with Martin Creed
Different versions of Half the Air in a Given Space
In 2012, Creed installed four versions of this work in neighborhoods throughout the city. Each site featured a different colored balloon. Thus not only are audience members who brave the balloons submerged in a room half-filled with air, but they are submerged in color, in a supernatural world in which their senses cannot fully be relied on, a world in which beauty and playfulness are combined.
Work No. 200, 1998, Tate St.Ives
Work No. 204, 2012, City Gallery, Chicago
Work No. 247, 2011, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo
Work No. 329, 2004, Rennie Collection
Work No. 360, 2015, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle
Work No. 965, 2008, The Cleveland Museum Of Art
Work No. 1562, 2015, THEMUSEUM
Work No. 2497, 2015, Park Avenue Armory & Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Art Museum, 2017