What is Squeeze Me?

Squeeze Me is an installation designed to provoke play and connection between strangers in an urban environment, using Air Giants’ novel inflatable soft robotic technology, to provide a compelling and charming tactile and visual experience.

It is composed of five to ten separate creatures, each one is wrapped around a tree, lamp post, bollard, or other available street furniture. Each creature is a big, soft, illuminated inflated shape which invites passers-by to hug it, squeeze it, lean on it and poke it.

Creatures will respond with shape-change, light and sound, playing simple games back-and-forth, and influencing the other creatures nearby. Groups will form spontaneously to play across multiple creatures, with players trying to recruit strangers to interact with neighbouring creatures. Games can carry on for hours, with people wandering in and out of the group. There will be strangers connecting with each other, playing with each other for as long as they stay engaged.

Players are necessarily quite far from each other, meaning when engaging with strangers it will feel very safe and will make the space it is installed in more interesting and welcoming.

An insight into Air Giants

Air Giants is a new creative robotic studio founded in 2020. They are based in Bristol and comprise a small team of artists, roboticists, puppeteers and software engineers.

They make a new kind of giant joyful robot, huge soft creatures which are supported and animated by air using their own novel technology. The robots are built to interact closely with people, responding to and engaging with both crowds and individuals by instigating games and displaying different moods and personalities. The robots have a genuine feeling of life and are a rare experience in a world in which large robots are usually locked up in factories.

Air Giants are eager collaborators, working with other creative industries and with academics. They are always working to develop their creatures both creatively and technologically, and are always looking for new fields in which they might make a contribution.