30 June, 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.

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