Net Blow-up gets ’em climbing and laughing at Beakerhead

Net Blow-Up, the world’s first self-supporting, climbable social sculpture, made its North American debut at this year’s annual Beakerhead in Calgary.

Having been set up in Japan prior to coming to Calgary, Net Blow-Up was designed and created by three artists from Vienna, Austria who go by the name Numen/For Use.

“It was very fun, I felt like a little kid again,” said Dorothy Bui, a 21-year-old University of Calgary student, who was one of many that waited in line to climb inside the Net Blow-Up, which was set up at the city’s East Village River Walk.

Each person got three minutes inside the structure to explore and climb the three levels of net inside.

The installation is meant to get people thinking about the perception of scale and direction, as well as the size and absence of space.

Ante Krizmanić, who has been an assistant to Numen/For Use for the past four years, spent a day and a half setting up the structure.

He described the structure as a “balloon” that’s blown up to the correct tension to stretch the nets inside.

There are three layers of net that are stitched to the “balloon,” which all overlap at some point, allowing climbers to go all the way up, with discs connecting all the nets inside.

“With the discs you create the valleys and hills inside,” said Krizmanić.

“If the composition isn’t perfect, you have to reposition these discs until it works.”

Asked about the kind of reaction the structure has been getting, Krizmanić noted the sounds of kids laughing and screaming inside the installation.

“I did not expect it to look the way it did inside, so it was really cool to experience it,” said Michael Huyhn, a 22-year-old U of C student who made Net Blow-Up his first Beakerhead experience.

Beakerhead ran from Septs 10 – 14 this year with events taking place all over the city.

Nothing But Net: Agnieszka Wolska-Chaney tries to keep her balance as she climbs and explores the three levels of Net Blow-Up. (Photo by Nancy Juarez/The Press)
Nothing But Net: Agnieszka Wolska-Chaney tries to keep her balance as she climbs and explores the three levels of Net Blow-Up. (Photo by Nancy Juarez/The Press)
About Nancy Juarez 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Nancy Juarez is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2014-2015 academic year.

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