Microcosm is a large-scale public artwork originally created for Sculpture by the Sea Bondi in 2018. The huge inflatable forms were inspired by the microcosmic structures of a coral reef. Microcosm asks the viewer to think about their own “small world”, and how good environmental actions can have a positive influence on the health of our environment.
Like all of GAS's signature works, the creation process for Microcosm combines traditional creative processes with digital technology and architectural engineering. Microcosm began as paint on paper to inform the bright prints that became art fabric material for the inflatables. The aim was to create a form that looks like a reef from a distance, but was more abstract and interpretive when viewed up close.
The manufacturing process involved printing these designs onto lightweight hardy fabric and installing a webbing system that weaves through the inflatable with a breaking load of over two tonne.
“Microcosm was inspired by a diving experience in a previously dynamited area in Indonesia. We were drifting through hundreds of metres of decimated reefs, the broken coral on the sea bed like bones. Then in the middle of all this destruction, we came across a tiny outcrop of new coral that had regenerated, no bigger than a basketball, but full of colour and movement. It was one of the most positive things we've ever seen and in a way, Microcosm is a portrait of that little world.” - GAS
Microcosm was first shown at Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea, where it was installed onto one of the Surf Life Saver Buildings on Tamarama Beach.