Artur van Balen (Tools for Action, Germany)
Artur van Balen (Tools for Action, Berlin, Germany) opened with the questions of what activism can learn from art and art from activism.
He presented an example of one of Eclectic-Electric Collective’s first “inflatable actions”, taking place in Cancun, Mexico, where they created a large inflatable hammer as a symbol of protest on the UN Climate conference.
Furthermore, he talked about the psychological effect of using inflatables. Among the several reason why they are good for activism, he mentioned that they are good to create crowd unity, there is high endorphin effect (like jumping on trampoline), they have a strong visual impact, they can be used in various unpredictable ways, they are a weapon of tactical frivolity, they are utopian, they transform space, the making of the object itself connects people and creates friendships and they can serve as storytelling devices.
Artur said that the inflatable actions are not only about making the inflatable, but also finding a point of intervention, production, consumption, or destruction.
He presented several inflatable campaigns which they have implemented so far, such as The Orange Campaign in Budapest and various inflatable campaigns in India, Barcelona, etc. The inflatable project in Sarajevo will take place on 25 May 2013, under the title the Golden Spoon Parade.
In the end he reiterated the importance to use art, speak to the heart of people and enjoy yourself, as well as empower other people, while doing it.