Eclectic Electric Collective

The Eclectic Electric Collective is an arts collective founded by Jakub Simcik and Artúr van Balen in 2010. The collective is known for its innovative and thought-provoking art installations that aim to create new narratives around the need for climate action.

One of their most famous works is the El Martillo (the hammer), a twelve-meter inflatable hammer that was sent to Mexico in 2010. The hammer was inspired by the Bertolt Brecht quote “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it” and was intended to create new narratives around climate action. The police tore the sculpture to pieces, but global media corporations declared El Martillo a symbol of the international climate change protests.

The hammer is now part of Qualcosa nell’aria / Something in the air, a group exhibition that opened the third season of Verso, a program of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo⁶. The exhibition was designed and produced with the Youth Policies Department of the Piedmont Region, as part of the National Fund for Youth Policies⁵. The exhibition features works by thirteen artists examining, deconstructing, and claiming the choreographies of protest that take place in public space⁶. The title suggests a dual perspective: on the one hand, it alludes to the potential of an emancipatory and transformative collective action; on the other, it proposes an in-depth analysis of an element that, due to its transparency and imperceptibility, is often considered neutral and non-political⁵. The exhibition focuses on air, understood as a material around and through which important contradictions and conflicts are expressed today, within the political, social, and economic dimensions⁵. The air is observed as a scenery crossed by transgenerational shouts and demands against oppression and for climate justice, but also by the sound of clashes and hostilities in the streets and in the sky⁶. The works portray the collective life of new generations, constructing the possibility of a community space animated by ecological perspectives but also of a place dedicated to intimate reflection on one’s identity⁵. The exhibition features artists such as Marwa Arsanios, Carolina Caycedo, Eclectic Electric Collective / Tools for Action, Andreas Gursky, Arthur Jafa, Sara Leghissa, Sandra Mujinga, Muna Mussie, Rory Pilgrim, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Ghita Skali, Alberto Tadiello, and Artur Zmijewski
(2) Something in the air – Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.
(3) in the air | WordReference Forums.
(4) Something in the Air (2012) – IMDb.
(5) in the air | WordReference Forums.
(6) “there’s something in the air” traduzione italiano –
(7) Something in the air – Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.
(8) In the Air | Wellcome Collection.
(9) Something in the air, Exhibition Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation ….

Inflatables for protest: An interview with Artúr van Balen/ Tools for Action