Microcosm was a large-scale inflatable artwork installed at Tamarama Beach for Sculpture by the Sea. It was a colourful and highly patterned artistic oral reef. Approximately 17 metres long, five metres wide and 4.5 metres high, it was installed onto one of the Tamarama Life Saving Club kiosks on the beach. It was designed to withstand the harsh seaside conditions, through its unique engineering and its ability to bend and move in the wind instead of resisting, much like how coral responds to waves. The work has cleverly used a range of engineering and manufacturing techniques to create a work that is very lightweight, yet extremely strong. Due to the large and complex nature of the fabrication, weight and bulk became a real issue. To overcome this, the work was divided into a main vessel into which air was continuously pumped (about 2000 cubic feet per minute) and a series of about 20 detachable feature art pieces. By day, the work created a dominating silhouette for the bay and, by night, was illuminated with internal LED lighting. Patterns were all custom designed by hand, then digitised and collaged in Photoshop to create unexpectedly vivid and fun patterns from simple scribbles. We created Microcosm because we were proud of our engineering and manufacturing abilities and wanted to put them to the test. Sculpture by the Sea was the perfect opportunity. Within the first week of installation, there was one of those fabulous Sydney storms with over 700 reported strikes of lightning! Microcosm just rode it out, due to its clever engineering and the ability to respond and move to the conditions around it.
Goldberg Aberline Studio