40 years on - Reinventing the Pink Floyd Pig

Inspired by Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ album from 1977, Architecture Social Club has created a visual experience turning Pink Floyd’s music into a living, breathing, immersive environment. ebm-papst teamed up with the artists to provide technical expertise along the way.

Over 900 fans were used to inflate and deflate the balloons that were incorporated into this modern reinvention of the Pink Floyd Pig. Strategically placed along the wooden frame of the Pink Pig, these fans were the basis of the mechanism which created the wonderful ‘breathing’ effect of this unique artwork.

The requirements for the fans were simple: provide a low voltage fan to inflate and deflate a balloon. Although a fairly simple request, a few points needed to be considered: how fast were the balloons to be inflated and deflated, what pressure would be required to inflate the balloons to create an aesthetically pleasing appearance and what fans were available within the short time frame?

The air delivery required from the fan was based on the volume of the balloon when inflated, and the time required to inflate it. The pressure output required from the fan was more difficult to estimate; the fan needed to deliver sufficient pressure to create a smooth appearance on the surface of the balloon, but not deliver too much pressure that would damage and burst it.

The final solution would need to consider an airflow that was reversible on demand, low noise operation, have measures in place to prevent the balloon being drawn into the fan blades when deflated and work on a low voltage DC supply for safety, response and controllability.

The artist provided us with samples of the balloons, and after detailed testing with a number of different fans, the best solution was found.

As the pressure required was relatively low, and the time frame the fans were required for was particularly short, the fan selected was the 8412N (101-8838). This smaller fan achieved the required inflation time, smooth appearance on the surface of the balloon and quiet performance; however, the fan was not reversible. To overcome this, we mounted two fans back to back with finger guard LZ22K (025-0870) on one side - to prevent the balloon being drawn into the fans on deflation.

The size, weight, noise and performance were ideal to produce the desired effect of inflating and deflating the balloons. The low voltage, low power consumption and response of the fan allowed the artist to produce the exciting visual display that is the Pink Floyd Pig.

Watch the video of this unique journey here.