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Supertube

1968 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coauthor: Theo Botschuijver, Sean Wellesley-Miller

Production: Eventstructure Research Group, Amsterdam

The Supertube was an invention discovered by the authors during their experimentation with inflatable structures. It used a centrifugal fan to blow a high volume of air from below into a long, open-ended polythene tube, causing it to flap wildly both on the ground and in the sky. The authors activated tubes of up to 30 meters in length in this way.

The Supertube was shown at various locations and cultural events as a ludic, interactive performance and spectacle, and on some occasions smoke and/or confetti would be fed into its airstream to amplify the aesthetics of its singular behavior.

This type of kinetic inflatable has in recent times become a ubiquitous advertising gimmick, also known as the ‘tube man’ when arms are added to it. But these bland commercial iterations repudiate the audience-engaging interactivity of the Supertube.

The authors also created a collectable domestic-scale version of the Supertube. Using pink plastic for the tube, it was titled Slapstick.

Exhibition Record

1968:  Ouderkerk a/d Amstel, Netherlands

1968:  Eidenhoven Markt, Eidenhoven, Netherlands