January 2, 2019
Photos by Erin Kelly
The New York-based architect and designer Jesse Seegers makes inflatable spaces that could maybe dismantle capitalism. At least, that was the idea when he was still in grad school. Seegers became interested in constructing public spaces that could function outside of the context of commercialism. He found himself drawn to the inflatables of the hippie modernists thanks to their modular design, and their potential to disrupt the status quo.
He eventually caught the eye of the original Ant Farm collective members after a guerilla-style installation in Chicago (which was promptly unplugged by the authorities) captured the attention of the artist Chip Lord. Seegers would eventually put on a show at New York’s Pioneer Works featuring the original Ant Farm collective members.
Seegers, who recently brought his impromptu structures to the Buffy pop-up in SoHo, notices a number of things in his work with inflatables. First, he says, kids are absolutely enamored with them. “They are always the most enthusiastic about it,” Seegers explains. He also notes a social media-esque engagement between those in the bubble, and those outside. The structures are made of such transparent material that a kind of surveillance takes place for those on the outside, while participants on the inside feel an impulse to perform.
It is no secret that we find ourselves inspired by those thinkers of the past who envisioned fun, oftentimes funky ways to re-organize society and design. Seegers brings that ethos into the modern world, reminding us of the lasting appeal of idealistic thinking.