This Inflatable Bubble Fills With Smoke. What Happens Next Is Art, Or A Guilt Trip

May 31, 2017

Imagine being trapped inside a bubble filled with the hazy exhaust fumes from a car. You might be sputtering, coughing as your throat constricts with the smoke.  This eerie scene will be played out in a performance art piece in downtown Seattle.

When Matthew Metz, a lawyer by trade, switched to an electric car, he wondered why so many people he knew were passionate about the environment, but still so attached to their gas-powered cars.  He decided public art was the best way he could get people to stop and think. 

As the founder of Coltura, a non-profit whose mission is eliminating gasoline in America by 2040, Metz created 'The Gas Trap.' It’s a 25-foot high clear vinyl bubble that appears to be connected to the tailpipe of a car. Inside, actors pretend to gasp for air.

“They are living with the consequences of the smoke that’s coming into the car, and it’s basically a microcosm of the situation that we’re all living in ... is that we’re in this really enclosed atmosphere that’s filling with smoke, and we’re really blasé about it,” said Metz. 

The car exhaust is actually from a smoke machine you’d see at a concert. As the bubble grows murkier, the actors are obscured, their world noxious. 'The Gas Trap' will be set up at Westlake Park this Friday, June 2 at 5:00 p.m. Performances will be at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. — just in time for rush hour.