In 1969, the American conceptual artist Robert Barry performed his INERT GAS SERIES in the California desert. Once released, the gases naturally expanded and dispersed while maintaining their chemical integrity. More specifically, the work refers to Barry’s “INERT GAS SERIES: HELIUM. Sometime during the morning of March 5, 1969, 2 cubic feet of Helium will be released into the atmosphere.”
Thirty-eight years later, Hornek asks a person in the same desert: “Please inhale Robert Barry"s noble gases and hold them as long as you can.” According to the physical computation commissioned by the artist, around 130,000 helium atoms per m3 of Barry’s sculpture remain. Through the air currents, the large elemental sculpture makes a claim on the global atmosphere. During a work stay in Mongolia, which is almost at the same latitude as California and characterized by a similar desert landscape, she presented her work to a Mongolian nomad. Claiming that she knew the »original« site, the Mongolian led the journey to the southern Gobi.