the balloon project: ich liebe es

9th February, 2008
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i love this project and its’ documentation.

the combination of the terrestrial and aerial footage in the documentation really brought out the complex interactions that occurred as the elements of the event drift in and out of phase with the simple gesture and intention to release, follow and retrieve a camera attached to a bunch of helium filled balloons. the piece was clearly a collaborative effort from start to finish and that was great to see.

if you’ve read any of the other things on this blog you probably realize that i love the intersection of simultaneous and linear time, and this project (and its’ documentation) seemed, at least to me, to portray that dynamic. while watching the footage it occurred to me that perhaps when our intentions are being efficiently realized we experience the simultaneous, and when they’re not, we experience the sequential.

i also detected a difference in persona between the american and german participants – and smiled as the american guy occasionally muttered ‘fuck!’ as things unfolded – because i, an american who has also incorporated balloons, the weather, cities, and the public into my own work, often catch myself muttering ‘fuck!’ as my own projects ‘drift in and out of phase’. when i watched the san francisco footage the amount of fuck muttering seemed to increase proportionally with the amount of american participation. i digress.

i visited their site and watched some other versions in other cities and a few things crossed my mind:

i imagine that running this project near large bodies of water would complicate the process. i’d do a test launch in each site by attaching a weight to a bunch of balloons first – just to see what’s what.

it might also be interesting to attach a phone running something like qik (streaming video from a phone camera) so that the video could be logged whether the camera was retrieved or not. if they bought a used nokia 6682 (or something) with an unlimited data plan it might not cost much more than the current version, even if the phone was never rescued – and if the phone disappeared they could just report it stolen and start over – or, of course, they could extend the work by incorporating whatever the people who found the phone would do with it. i suppose they could also add some GPS stuff with a suitably enabled phone and use that data, etc.

but it is beautiful as it is.

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