I first did the Modular Balloon massivething at the Institute of Education for their Inspired by Design series of talks in Autumn 2013. One of the suggestions from Steve Boyd was that, inside the balloon structure, there be a person to ‘animate’ it. That wasn’t really so possible with 600 people but there was an opportunity this time as the numbers and space were a little better. Jia Yew was chosen as she is the smallest person in the room and we wanted to make her the largest, hence the name of the exercise.Image

I gave a little bit of help about making the modular balloon units so that they would link together and explained about tolerance in design and manufacturing. Below you can see the single unit and how it fits together with other units and holds together.


The participants then inflated their balloons and started twising them into shape and joining them together and then attaching them to Jia. Health and safety is very important, so she wore goggles over her glasses just in case “SOMETHING REALLY BAD HAPPENED!”

To be honest it was a bit of a frenzy, but we managed to get almost 1000 balloons attached on her, and she could move around a little. Here are the results.




Left is Bobbie wondering whether she will ever see her friend Jia alive ever again


Jia did stay alive, just. I’d like to thank her very much for being such a good sport!



The whole thing was filmed by Endemol TV, I am not sure what this looked like on camera, probably like a scene from World War Z, they described the footage as ‘a bit manic’ :/

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