updated 1/3/2013 4:20:37 PM ET 2013-01-03T21:20:37

This is no mere bouncy-castle. Argentinian artist and architect Tomás Saraceno's installation "On Space Time Foam" piece invites visitors into a former factory in Milan where nearly 13,000 square feet of clear plastic sheeting has been suspended at various angles. Once inside the layers, physical and social barriers disappear.

"There is something more than just a pressure chamber and some PVC in there," Saraceno said. "I am trying to weave cosmic and sociological waves."

For Saraceno, who has repeatedly experienced weightlessness on parabolic flights at NASA's Ames Research Center, the nearly 65-foot-tall piece brings together years of interdisciplinary work and study. He collaborated with a team of engineers and the British company Lindstrand Technologies, known for its inflatable structures, to create the installation at HangarBicocca.

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Referencing physics theorists, Saraceno said he thinks about space as a tympanum, a membrane that allows us to listen because it vibrates. Inside the exhibition, the plastic membranes respond dynamically. The closer people are to each other, the more difficult it can be to move away, creating a sort of a "sociological black hole."

Saraceno said he adamantly opposed. So far, "On Space Time Foam" has had record numbers of visitors and will be open through early February. After that, the artist will continue to pursue projects that pull the public into extraordinary spaces.

"I hope that it is a small step towards a stronger community on planet Earth," Saraceno said.

© 2012 Discovery Channel


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