Sensitive Equipment

2010s Artists Exhibitions

Chicago-based artist Alberto Aguilar talks about the origin of one of his projects for the MCA.


In 2013, I was asked to create an interactive installation for Homebodies, an exhibition curated by Naomi Beckwith. While in bed one night, obsessing over what I would make, I thought about a game my children invented in our living room, which I filmed and called Sensitive Equipment. At that moment, I realized that I would create a set of interactive stations made from repurposed home furniture titled Home Field Play. Sensitive Equipment was the centerpiece of Home Field Play and consisted of an area carpet, end table, balloons, and children’s bells. The directions were to keep a balloon up with a bell while staying within the confines of the carpet. It was a game that museum visitors could play along with the unintended sound score [created by the bells] that lasted the game’s duration.

Out of all the stations of Home Field Play, this one was the most popular and people still ask me about it to this day. Sensitive Equipment was later purchased by the Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, and has since traveled to Minneapolis Institute of Art. What has been most amazing in the life of this work is seeing my children react to how a moment of spontaneous play could resonate beyond our home, into serious museums across the country. If it was not for the MCA inviting me to be in the Homebodies exhibition, Sensitive Equipment would only exist in video form and my children would never know its full potential.


Two females hold handbells over their heads as a blue balloon floats above them.

Installation view, Alberto Aguilar’s Home Field Play, 2013. In Homebodies, MCA Chicago, Jun 29–Oct 13, 2013. Photo © MCA Chicago.

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