30 June, 2008

The Song

To check out the original video clip of the English version follow this link:

For the original german:

The lyrics:

99 Red Balloons

You and I in a little toy shop
buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message, "Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by.

99 red balloons floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here from somewhere red
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Where 99 red balloons go by.

99 Decision Street, 99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super-scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by.

99 Knights of the air
ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a Superhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
As 99 red balloons go by.

99 dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here...
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go.

The Original German Lyrics:

Hast Du etwas Zeit fuer mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied fuer Dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Denkst Du vielleicht grad' an mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied fuer Dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Und dass sowas von sowas kommt

99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Hielt man fuer UFOs aus dem All
Darum schickte ein General
'ne Fliegerstaffel hinterher
Alarm zu geben, wenn's so waer
Dabei war'n da am Horizont
Nur 99 Luftballons

99 Duesenjaeger
Jeder war ein grosser Krieger
Hielten sich fuer Captain Kirk
Das gab ein grosses Feuerwerk
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft
Und fuehlten sich gleich angemacht
Dabei schoss man am Horizont
Auf 99 Luftballons

99 Kriegsminister
Streichholz und Benzinkanister
Hielten sich fuer schlaue Leute
Witterten schon fette Beute
Riefen: Krieg und wollten Macht
Mann, wer haette das gedacht
Dass es einmal soweit kommt
Wegen 99 Luftballons

99 Jahre Krieg
Liessen keinen Platz fuer Sieger
Kriegsminister gibt's nicht mehr
Und auch keine Duesenflieger
Heute zieh ich meine Runden
Seh' die Welt in Truemmern liegen
Hab' 'nen Luftballon gefunden
Denk' an Dich und lass' ihn fliegen

Direct Line by Line Translation from German

Do you have some time for me?
Then I'll sing a song for you
About 99 balloons
On their way to the horizon
Are you perhaps thinking of me?
Then I'll sing a song for you
About 99 balloons
And that something (like the war) comes from such a thing (the balloons)

99 balloons
On their way to the horizon
They thought they were UFOs from space
So a general sent
A flying squad out there
To raise the alarm if it was true
Yet there on the horizon were
Only 99 balloons

99 jet airplanes
Each one was a great warrior
Thought that they were Captain Kirk
There were great fireworks
The neighbors didn't understand anything
And felt immediately felt "pissed off"/provoked
Yet there they shot on the horizon
At 99 balloons

99 war ministers
Matches and petrol cans
Thought that they were clever people
Already caught wind of great spoils [of war]
Shouted: War, and wanted power
Man, who would have thought
That one day it would come to this
Because of 99 balloons

99 years of war
Don't leave a place for victors
There are no ministers of war any more
No jet planes either
Today I'm doing my rounds
Seeing the world lying in ruins
Found a balloon
Think of you and let it fly

There are loads of you tube 'covers' of the original song, if you do a search for 99 red balloons you'll find them all. I selected a few I particularly liked, click here for that post.

The Exhibition - August 2008

The real world, physical space manifestation of this concept was presented at a great artist run space in Brunswick, Melbourne. Amongst other things there was 99 little original watercolours on the wall, so you could come and see your balloon. There was also oil paintings, video and installation work....

Brunswick Arts www.brunswickarts.com.au
2a Little Breese St, Brunswick, 3056 (Melbourne, Australia)

1-16 August 2008

Opening night:
1st August 2008



Welcome to Project Red Balloon.

I am Alison Hanly, a Melbourne (Australia) based artist. You can read about my art practice at http://alisonhanly.blogspot.com

The idea for this project came about because a song got stuck in my head. I had been to see a local theatre performance and in it they sang the old 80's song '99 Red Balloons' by German band Nena.

It stayed in my head for a good seven or eight days, and all the while I was getting images of red balloons in beautiful skies... clouds, clear blue, twilight, night. Everywhere I went I was looking at the sky and seeing red balloons.

So I decided to have a show. I have been working on elephants as my subject matter for the last two years and, although I have many more plans for those lovely, big beasts in my art work, it was time to do something a bit different, new imagery, new colours... I started to really look forward to doing something simple and absolutely aesthetically LUSH

I started taking lots of photos of skys and thinking about skylines and buildings and times of day and weather. I bought a packet of red balloons... I booked a gallery.

I had the brainwave of actually releasing 99 red balloons from the top of a local building, filming it from two or three angles and projecting that in the gallery space. I had another brainwave of tagging each balloon like we did as kids and getting people to contact me when they found one, and telling me where they discovered it...

But then a few people mentioned the environmental factor, and as much as i didn't want to let go of the idea, I kind of felt like it wouldn't be so cool anymore... :(

but guess what happened then?!?!?!

I had another brainwave!
I thought, 'there has to be a way to do this in cyber space.'
And came up with the idea of emailing 99 people 99 red balloons, each one a different picture and get people to forward them on to only one other person and also reply to me and tell me a bit about themselves. (See the 'If you have received a balloon' post for the instructions I have given)

I thought it would be awesome to see how far they travel, what sort of convoluted winds blow around the world in cyber space. I'm going to work on getting a google earth map up so we can track each balloon. I was also interested to see what people come up with if they are inspired to give me a bit more than the very basic info.

So I am posting summaries of some of the
responses so that people can see which balloons have had interesting things happen. I'm also posting links and snippets of what I find in my red balloon research.

If you have received a balloon...

So you have got an email with a red balloon attached!
Hopefully you would have received all of the instructions with it.
In case you didn't...

There are a couple of levels of involvement:

1st - minimal
send me an email at projectredballoons@gmail.com with...

a.) the number of the balloon you received
b.) Where in the world you are (at whatever level of precision you feel comfortable with. It could be anything from your street or suburb, city, state/county, or country)
c.) copy and paste the original email to only one other person - keep that balloon floating!

I will not use your email address or post it or pass it on... unless you ask me to I won't even use it to reply to you!

2nd - maximal (getting creative)
send me an email at projectredballoons@gmail.com with all of the above and...

d.) take a photo or draw a picture of where you are... or where you think you saw the balloon - so out your window, down your street - it in the middle of the main road in your city/town... anything you like.
e.) tell me a story about what has happened to the balloon, or where you saw it, or what was going on around it as it floated past...

Again, I will not use you email address or post it or pass it on, unless you ask me to I won't even use it to reply to you! I will, however post your responses to d.) and e.) on this blog unless you ask me not to! And if you want to tell me your name or anything about you I will post that too.

Please note that I am reserving the right to edit or not post/publish what you send me...