On air: Exploring the historical, scientific and political impact of inflatables in choreography

Project Details


This British Academy/Leverhulme funded project examines choreographic engagements with inflatables: performance works involving small or large-scale PVC objects filled with air, on- and off-stage. From the 1960s when plastics first became commonplace, such work had a socially progressive and even utopian character. Traversing boundaries between performance and visual art, art and everyday life, and even science, it was truly interdisciplinary and troubled many artistic conventions. Yet, its limited scholarly analysis has largely neglected the properties of the objects employed.

This project’s objectives are threefold, comprising historical, contemporaneous and exploratory strands: (1) to examine how 1960s works with inflatables entailed interplays between choreographic and visual arts, scientific innovations, and counterculture movements; (2) to analyse 21st-century choreographies using inflatables, assessing their social messages and legacy from earlier works; (3) to establish a network and enable productive exchange between artists, scientists and other key stakeholders in the use and impact of plastic inflatables through a symposium.
Effective start/end date1/05/2430/04/25