The Bubble, 2005

The Bubble is a computer aided participatory installation.

Visitors enter an enlarged nursery where they can blow digital bubbles and listen to the music box hanging from the roof.

But every time they blow a bubble, they are also downloading an extremely violent video from the Internet. The videos from the resulting archive are shown inside the bubbles on the screen.

By pulling the music box handle, the sounds from the videos can be heard.

Emi Maeda's nursery music is filling the space. It is a strange mixture between tender harp sounds and noise.

Programming by Juha Vehviläinen.

Quotes

“Minna Långström’s “The Bubble “ is a re-sensitization installation. The walls of the installation are baby-blue, and an oversized baby-blue chair is parked on the side of a baby blue rug; large enough to make me seem two feet again. A nursery rhyme-like music provides a soothing soundtrack, and a video projector throws pastel colored light on the rear wall of the installation. Everything is cool and soft as though I am home in the safety of a nursery.

An oversized bubble blowing canister and wand sit on the oversized chair and when a user blows into the bubble wand, a sensor causes bubbles to appear on the video screen. Some of the bubbles carry inside them washed out video of assassinations, explosions and contemporary and stock footage of violent conflicts. As if the projection is from a news channel, text constantly moves left to right on the bottom of the screen giving the name and source of the video, which was always downloaded from the internet. A candy-like, cartoon-ish head hangs from the ceiling in the installation, a rope dangling beneath it. When the rope is pulled, the soundtrack for footage of violence blares from a hidden speaker. The sounds and images of violence, even though much lower resolution than television and the images quite common to us, is incredibly unsettling.

Långström’s work functions to lower our threshold for violence and reverse the desensitization we’ve grown up with.”

Christian Holland, Big RED & Shiny: An Online Arts Journal For Boston

"Her interactive Kupla ("The Bubble") transformed the main area into a pastel nursery, complete with outsize furniture, the soothing notes of Emi Maeda’s piped-in harp, and a high-tech soap-wand from which spectators took turns blowing bubbles. The flying suds were projected onto the wall and filled with violent news segments rendered even more poignant by Bush's fresh re-election and the ongoing unrest in Iraq.

Långström's baby ingeniously represents Scandinavia itself (or perhaps the entire West), which exists isolated and safe from daily suffering and chaos. Kupla is also a brilliant metaphor for the information age, in which we sit complacently in front of our televisions and computers, far removed from the media's disturbing snippets of Third World hardship and death. Has technological saturation turned us into desensitized infants, receiving but not comprehending the floating data on our monitors?; Has cruel misfortune simply become tolerable fodder, like so many children's toys? Or are we merely powerless toddlers, who feel the resulting pain from but cannot control the outcome of these tragedies?

Långström thrusts the very definition of "news" and of our global position into multifarious states of flux.”

Jordan N. Mamone, Dusted Magazine, “Finlandia On The Rocks: A Trip to the 2004 Avanto Helsinki Media Art Festival”.

 

Photos of The Bubble