'Attachment' is a poetic machine which allows people to send digital messages, images or videos into the air attached to biodegradable balloons.

'Attachment's idea began as David's diploma project at ECAL (University of Art and Design, Lausanne) in Media and Interaction Design in Spring 2014. In October 2014, the project got support from the Migros Culture Percentage (Grant fund for Digital Culture) to developp the final object. In 2016, the machine was finalized in collaboration with Thomas Grogan and the help of Niklas Hagemann.

David Colombini
Thomas Grogan

Thanks to
Niklas Hagemann
Hayden Anyasi



Interactive Installation

The poetic machine

Attachment’ is a poetic concept, a message in a bottle 2.0. Inspired by the rusty machines of Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely, our fully automatic poetic machine will gives physical form to the digital message you send via our website.

First, It will engrave your message onto a thin piece of balsa wood connected by a string to a wooden clip. A balloon stock conveyor is then activated to place a balloon above a helium valve that automatically inflates it. Finally a simple two-piece wooden clip seals the balloon, which is then released into the air where it will travel haphazardly to a potential recipient.

Where does the idea come from ?

Attachment was inspired by the book "La société de l’anticipation" by French writer Eric Sadin and is a way to take a resist the current use of «smart» technologies. Attachment is a poetic concept, using current technology to allow us to communicate differently and rediscover the unexpected, the random, and the serendipitous.

"I have always been attracted to what is in the air, and remember winning a balloon release contest when I was about ten years old. My balloon flew from Switzerland to Austria. This definitely left an impression on me and perhaps influenced the idea behind this project".

The Website

On the « the send page », you can enter your name and e-mail to send a message and attach an image or video. Once you hit the send button, the machine engraves your message and releases it into the air. If you are lucky enough to find a balloon and its message, go to « the discover page » and enter the code written on the wooden ticket. This lets you see the digital content (video or image) linked to the message and gives you the option to reply to its author by e-mail

Map and stories

On the attachment website you can view an interactive map displaying the locations of all the found balloons found so far, alongside a selection of poetic stories and found messages that people have been willing to share with us.

Below, on the right, is a balloon sent from Zurich and found in a field near Munich. The record distance is a message that travelled more than 1500km from Geneva to Czech Republic.

From Sketches to final object

Sketches, design, production of the piece, the electronics, pneumatics and programming, development of an ecological wood clip to seal the balloon.

  1. A
  2. B
  3. T
  4. L
  5. W
  6. S
  7. P
  8. F
  9. I
  10. D
  11. C