We had an incredible turnout to our Toys! Studio ‘Make it RAIN!’ event this afternoon in the College of Design. Nearly 3,000 balloons, 700$ in prizes and a few hundred students turned up from various ends of Ames (as well as a custom fishing net from Louisiana).
Our project, which focused on the sobering realities of student debt, was constructed around three symbolic gestures. First we constructed a ‘debt ceiling’ (although in reality it became more cloud-like): a slippery, architectural plane of (broken) economic promises.
Second, we tapped into early 20th century psychological warfare tactics, by deploying leaflets with messages of impending crisis and ‘humanitarian aid’ (in this case, cash and gift cards). In this way, information about student debt as well as financial relief was disseminated simultaneously to the student body.
Finally, the single balloon stood in as the symbol of modern crises: the ruptured sphere, the build-up of internal tension and the inevitable ‘bubble burst’.
While we cheated and used a machine to blow up the balloons, there is something poetic about a thousand balloons filled with breath (ex-corporated souls) rupturing in the hands of students. Also, to be completely honest, the CoD never looked so good.
We were completely thrilled with the turnout and the drop, and are working on releasing a video asap. Thanks again to everyone who helped us with funding and showed up to the event!