The Long Now, transitional soap bubbles


The fragility of an object is not merely related to its physical properties, but also to its ability to maintain the same shape over time. Soap bubbles perfectly represent fragility and Verena Friedrich’s “The Long Now.” Friedrich built a machine that robotically generates soap bubbles with an improved formula. After leaving a bubble in a controlled atmosphere chamber, the machine keeps the bubble suspended far longer than expected. Extending the time the viewer expects it to take the bubble to burst disrupts their perception of its fragility, even in this artificial environment. The bubble is slowly moving, so its own nature is still defined as transitional, but, nevertheless, it has changed. As a child, the gesture of blowing a new bubble as soon as the last one burst was symptomatic of an understanding of nature. Here Friedrich uses science to implement a change in our perception of fragility, while leaving our perception of reality untouched. (photo credit: Victor S. Brigola)


  • The Long Now, transitional soap bubbles