The Kid Should See This

The origin of the dancing inflatable tube man

Where did those dancing inflatable men, called AirDancers or “tall boys”, originally come from? Trinidadian Carnival artist Peter Minshall created these long-armed, long-legged, exuberant dancers — plastic, body-shaped tubes set on fans — for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Minshall’s Olympics creative partner Doron Gazit controversially patented the tubes without Minshall, and now we can see them waving wildly from used car lots and cell phone stores.

An additional interesting fact from Slate, where you can listen to a 99% Invisible story on Minshall’s “tall boys”:

Turns out that vertical inflatables also make for good scarecrows. Farmer Gary Long, who helped develop the Air Rangers, says that bird damage in his orchard of honey crisp apples went from 20,000 pounds a year to zero.

There’s more wind art in the archives, including Solar Bell, The Sea Organ, and Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests.

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