Nicole Banowetz


Interactive Collaborative Inflatable

Nicole Banowetz, with Bryan Costanza

Denver, CO, USA

As humans we have infinite interactions with our natural environment everyday. Often we are unaware of how our actions create a ripple in the world around us. Permutate encourages the viewer to have a collaborative interaction with the environment by rewarding thoughtful interaction with the installation. When the algae is not interacted with it will pulse a lime green similar to the natural color of an algae bloom. As the viewer touches the algae tendrils an orange discoloration emanates from the area they touch. This first unplanned interaction may have a toxic effect on the sculpture. But as more people work together to thoughtfully engage the touch points the colors begin to change from the toxic feeling orange reds to a brilliant turquoise. At moments of collaboration there will also be changes in the algae medallion hanging above. These changes will encourage viewers to have the patience to engage the touch points until the whole inflatable algae piece on the ground is completely turquoise. As more touch points are engaged the algae medallion above will change color and eventually become turquoise to match the aloe below. This sculpture is inspired by freshwater algae. Humans have a complex relationship with algae. Filamentous algae can grow quickly creating hair like strands that cover the water. Algae is a part of the ecosystem serving as shelter or food sources for protozoans, insects, and fish. But if there are too many nutrients in the water from human created pollutants, such as fertilizer run off, then algal blooms can become out for control, making the water unpleasant as well as dangerous. Algae is one relationship that humans have with nature that often goes unnoticed, but if we are more aware we can live in harmony with the algae. There are also possibilities that different sorts of algae can in the future be used as a biofuel.



Nicole Banowetz is a Denver artist who creates large sewn inflatable sculptures. Her work addresses human qualities while using the imagery she finds in the animal, plant, mineral, and bacterial worlds. She has made made installations inspired by bacteria, parasitic fungus, viruses, radiolaria, rotifers, and rhinos. Nicole has shown in the Denver Art Museum, Pirate Contemporary, Amsterdam Light Festival, Open Art Sweden, Kreuzberg Pavilion, and Gray Contemporary. She has also lived and worked internationally in many residency programs creating or showing work in India, Italy, Ireland, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Taiwan, Finland and England.

Bryan Costanza is a Denver-based Creative Technologist specializing in the technical execution of creative projects, especially in the area of hardware-software integration for physical computing. His work is informed by an MS in Creative Technologies & Design, a BS in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Psychology, five years of experience in the education industry, and experiences in both small startups and large corporations. He has always had an appreciation for the most scientific, technical, and artistic projects he can find, and he now sees himself enabling the integration of these fields into new impactful experiences.

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