99 White Balloons

by INVIVIA (comprising Harvard Graduate School of Design professors and recent alumni) recipient of 2015 Field Constructs Design Competition (FCDC)

99 White Balloons is a multimedia installation that combines microphones, LEDs, sensors, and the titular inflatables that actively respond to the motion of visitors.

99 White Balloons responds to the Circle Acres site’s environment in subtle ways and elucidates differences in the preserve’s various landscape types. The project consists of a 1,200-foot cable festooned with glowing balloons and anchored by a series of towers at intermittent locations, collectively forming a floating ring. The anchor towers, in turn, are equipped with microphones and proximity sensors.

When a person or animal approaches an anchor tower, a motor slowly draws the balloon chain closer to ground level at that anchor, while the intensity of the LED lights under each balloon increases in waves outward from that point. As the visitor moves away, the opposite actions occur—the chain moves away, and the lights dim.

The towers themselves are also equipped with LEDs that respond to small temperature variations.