sebastien leon highlights AUDI's light frame with balloons sebastien leon highlights AUDI's light frame with balloons
jan 19, 2014

sebastien leon highlights AUDI's light frame with balloons

sebastien leon highlights AUDI’s light weight frame with balloon-filled room
all images courtesy of sebastien leon




taking place on haixinsha island in the heart of guangzhou, china, AUDI A.G. has presented the innovation exhibition for the 2013 guangzhou auto show. new york-based artist, creative director and composer sebastien leon was commissioned to create an installation celebrating the continuous innovations of AUDI, in particular the extra-light weight frame of the AUDI R8, which allows for reduced fuel consumption and an optimal use of aluminum. filling a spherical room with over a thousand silver foil balloons — some filled with air and others with helium — ‘the conference of the birds’ reflects a hypnotic, anamorphic image of the car, the chamber and its visitors all at once. suspended from the ceiling, fifteen wireless speakers play an electronic symphonic dialogue of filtered automobile sounds compounded with the songs of thirty different birds.



the conference of the birds, by sebastien leon
video courtesy of formavision



the installation is based on sufi poet farid ud-din attar’s series of poems from which the installation takes its namesake. written in 1177, the poems tell the story of thirty birds who embark on a long flight in order to elect a king. their journey takes them from persia to china with the goal of finding the simorgh — the chinese phoenix — the embodiment of most accomplished of the birds. after painfully crossing the seven initiatic valleys, they finally reach the land of the mythical creature, but upon arrival, they find only a quiet lake. approaching the body of water and looking down, they see only their own reflections and come to realize that god is simply within them and that they hold their own destinies in their hands.



mirrored reflections of the car and the room materialize on the surface of the balloon



the poems of farid ud-din attar embody AUDI’s constant campaign for self-improvement, leading the automobile field in both the fine-tuning of existing technologies and the introduction of innovation. the concept is also directed towards the chinese audience of guangzhou itself, which — as a manufacturing center of the world — has a strong impact on the balance between the earth and the industry. leon’s installation acts as a meditative dialogue between the AUDI brand and its chinese clientele, provoking a reflection on the balance between industrial development and the environment.



over a thousand balloons fill the room



where ‘the conference of the birds’ is housed


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