I feel like I have been to Wonderland and back again.
The last few months have been a whirl wind adventure of material testing, model making, and production managing the creation of a large scale art inflatable called Back to the Breast; and finally, this February in Thailand we debuted the installation at Wonderfruit festival.
Back to the Breast is an eco, biodegradable inflatable made of organic cotton coated in pigmented natural latex that depicts monumental breasts. Through an inflatable “underwire” tunnel, participants can enter the breasts and imagine what it might feel like to be in a breast. Engaging with breasts in this new capacity and beyond stigmatization hopes to normalize breast culture and foster a conversation of inclusion and understanding of bodies in public space. Through symbolic architectural design, Back to the Breast encourages an appreciation for rather than opposition to breasts in public view.
At the festival, we hosted breast casting and printing workshops which attracted a huge number of people and helped reinforce the thematic undertone of the piece through opening up conversations around breast culture.
This event was an enormous learning experience for me and I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to manifest Back to the Breast. As a prototype for eco inflatables, Back to the Breast offers pointers for further development in materials and sustainable inflatable architecture.
Witnessing everything come to fruition after months of work was so special and would not have been possible without the huge collaborative effort from the building crew in Bali, Wonderfruit installation team in Thailand, and our amazing structural engineers Atelier One in London.
– Carina Hardy
I tried to explain to the engineers that no two breasts are alike. This was a tricky conversation. And I learned some fundamental engineering principals I had no idea about, like that membrane structures want to be symmetrical. So we compromise and iterate and prototype. The contour of this breast is based off a 3D scan of a live model and adjusted to build as an inflatable. Thank you @atelier.one and tensys for your amazing work in manifesting this project, so grateful for your brains and your hearts together for #backtothebreast #largescaleart #inflatableart #wonderfruit
Inside the breast
One giant gust of wind took my breast away. I never thought I’d see boobs in the sky but then I did and they were my boobs. I felt like Dorothy wrapped up in my giant flapping breast tornado trying to hold them down with all my might. We rescued one upside down in a nearby tapioca field. This is a true story
The installation took a brief trip before being returned to its rightful position.
Wonderfruit came and Wonderfruit was quite amazing. It was great to be there with the crew- with Carina, Pablo and Baxter. Everything was set up with a lot of scrambling at the last minute. Two hours before the show opened a little twister came through and lifted up one of the breasts, taking it up and over one building and across the road into a tapioca field. The remaining breast had someone in it and everyone grabbed it and kept it from going. I’ve never seen Carina so cool. We all went to the tapioca field with 4 security guards. We found it there being held up by the tapioca. We brought it back and 5 of our wonderful volunteers sewed liked demons for the next three hours and we were up again by nightfall. It was such an amazing experience. Carina was there casting breasts for people. This first ever natural inflatable is the beginning of a different future. It was really a pleasure to be there and a pleasure to see Carina thrive on the thousand things that happen when you put on a show.
– John Hardy
Breast casting workshop results
Scenes from the making of Back to the Breast