Popping Balloons With A Bunch Of Knives: Explained

The art world can be an exclusionary place, but Erichsen hopes you just have a nice time watching him wreck some balloons.

Jan Hakon Erichsen popping balloons
Jan Hakon Erichsen popping balloons

Art is creation, destruction should be its opposite?

Yet, destruction has a long history in contemporary art, from Ai Weiwei smashing a 2,000-year-old Han Dynasty urn to Gustav Metzger’s acid paintings. However, their not the only ones Jan Hakon Erichsen pops a bunch of balloons with a bunch of knives.

Jan Hakon Erichsen, 41, is an Oslo-based artist who specializes in videos of himself popping a bunch of ballons. Erichsen’s art soon became viral after he tweeted a compilation of the balloon videos he created and shared on Instagram on Sunday.

“I have a good following [on Instagram], and I’ve been posting a few on Twitter as well. Then I posted that compilation video on Twitter yesterday, and that kind of for some reason just went viral, I had just finished a longer project that was just totally time consuming, and I just wanted to make something that was fun.”

– Jan Hakon Erichsen

Erichsen started making the videos about a year and a half ago.

At the time, he only had about 100 followers. Although today, he has more than 300,000 Instagram followers and tons of new fans. Perhaps not so surprisingly, Erichsen found many of his early fans in a rather niche community: balloon fetishists. He swears up and down his art is Not A Sex Thing!

“I just wanted to show my friends on Instagram, When I started this, I didn’t know that was a thing at all,There were a lot of these looners, I think they call themselves, who contacted me to bring me into their group. They tried to get me to join their groups, but I just didn’t answer their DMs.”


“Good for them if they have fun with it, it doesn’t bother me at all, but I was a bit surprised, just hadn’t thought of that at all, that me popping balloons could be anything else but me popping balloons.”

– jan hakon erichsen

Somehow, seeing a bunch of balloons get popped with a bunch of knives can be oddly soothing.

“A lot of people started telling me my videos are ASMR, and I didn’t even know what that was, but now that I do I try to play up that sometimes.”

– jan hakon erichsen

Not only did he post one oddly satisfying clip he posted a second the now-renowned “salmon cannon.”Erichsen said he’d seen the cannon, and might take it as inspiration for an upcoming balloon video.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if I suddenly find something to do with a tube after that video, I saw the video yesterday and I thought okay, I gotta do something with that. It will probably happen.”


“It’s just kind of a bit of absurd art — there’s not some kind of a big message,For me, it’s a freeing experience, to make these and not think about whether it should be something really important or have a huge message or anything like that. That can be kind of limiting, I think. For people that are into performance art, they see this as art, and for others it’s just entertaining, I don’t want it to be alienating — if they just see it as a viral video, that’s fine by me, it doesn’t have to be too complicated.”

– jan hakon erichsen


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