‘Animal Soul’ transforms Brookfield Place into zoo for giant balloon animals

Performers in balloon suits danced through the space too.

"Animal Soul," an installation of large balloon-like sculptures by Jason Hackenwerth, invaded Brookfield Place. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Balloon-like prehistoric creatures took up residence inside FiDi’s Brookfield Place, as part of a new “Animal Soul” installation.

The vinyl fabric forms, which resemble primordial four-legged animals, have names taken from mythology — “Helio” (personification of the sun), “Nagi” (the Sanskrit word for “serpent”) and “Cronus” (the youngest leader of the Titans). The creatures were placed around the space so that visitors could touch and walk around and underneath them, according to a news release.


A “pack” of newer Latex balloon sculptures were also worn by performers, who interacted with visitors to Brookfield Place, including at a quiet clubbing dance party.

Rosalie Huang, 3, from Manhattan, laughs as Ellie Lehman dances in wearable sculptures of sewn balloons. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

If it sounds fanciful, you’d be correct. The artist, Jason Hackenwerth, draws from science, mythology and the idea of the ephemeral to come up with this balloon beasts.

His technique involves connecting thousands of balloons to form a sculpture, and when they are suspended in the air, they appear to defy gravity and illuminate.

Hackenwerth crafted the three bigger pieces specifically for Arts Brookfield but the “wearables” the performers put on are new sculptures from his “Megamites” series, which began back in 2005 at the 51st Venice Biannale.