7 Hour Balloon Work / 7-Stunden-Ballonarbeit

Below is my documentation of a live online performance Michaela Gleave did for a one-day show I curated in Sydney in July 2010. She was living in Berlin at the time, and proposed that her contribution to the exhibition of 420-minute art works be done via webcam on Skype. On the day of the show, Michaela sat on a stool in her studio and blew up balloons for the entire seven-hour duration.

Gradually filling the space that enclosed her with colourful buoyant packets of her own breath, it was an unusually graceful instance of endurance art – though a couple of nasty balloon bursts meant she still ended up with a black eye. Like much of Michaela’s work, it was a beautifully executed consideration of matter, space, time, volume and distance. Visitors to the exhibition assumed what they were seeing was a recorded video work, and were taken back when the figure on the screen would stop and talk to them in shared real time (though the geographic distance of course meant the time zones were opposing) about what she was doing.

A recording of 7 Hour Balloon Work / 7-Stunden-Ballonarbeit was recently included in The Matter of Air, an exhibition curated by Jacqueline Doughty at Gertrude Contemporary in Melbourne that included a very nice selection of works that made air – its normally invisible presence and movements – visible in various ways. For this show Michaela also created Cloud House, a custom built space that, true to its name, housed a cloud.

The exhibition Just For One Day took place at The Factory in Marrickville, as part of an FBi Radio event. Also included were works by Sydney artists Matthew Philip Hopkins, Kenzie Larsen, Alli Sebastian Wolf, Samuel Bruce and Pia van Gelder. My request as curator was that something would come into being and go back out of being within the seven hour allocation.