The Point

Throughout my work as an artist, I have been exploring different methods
to affect the viewer. I am interested in inspiration, seeing the practice as an
inspiration to myself and the product as an inspiration for the viewer.
As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to fly. I've had lots of
dreams about flying, the most memorable being a sort of balloon encapsulation that
allowed me to float over the environment and explore the vertical space that
is usually un-reachable. Therefore, I have decided to create a set of helium balloons
that will lift participants, actually just negate gravity, so that with a slight kick off the
ground a person might float through space briefly. The event will generate a positive response,
an uplifting moment that will be memorable, and as a part of this memory I plan to
create a dialogue with each participant. The gift is flight, a moment of freedom, and exploration
of environment.


Materials Worklist

Many different
materials have been evaluated for strength, weight,
and porosity characteristics. Many different forms of ripstop nylon
were considered, although the weight and strength of these fabrics
became questionable before the testing phase of the material was
initiated. The ripstop seemed to strech if tugged on a diagonal bias,
and the coatings and impregnation of urethane and silicone didn't
have a tight enough structure to fully contain the helium. A wonderful
marvel of technology was found in Cuben Fiber. This stuff is super-light,
at .35 oz/yd it has a tear strength of 80 lbs/insq !!! It is formed from elongated strands of polyethylene- consider a six-pack ring. This is polyethylene, though it is loosely and randomly bunched into the structure and remains stretchable. If you took that material and stretch it out, it will form long thin strands of the polyethylene molecules connected end-to-end, and it is these molecular bonds that are the strength of the material. And it has the added bonus of a mylar layer laminated into the fabric (mylar is what is comonly used in helium balloons comercially available). Small samples have been received and tested using various seaming techniques and adhesives. Once i have more fabric I can build the test models which will serve as announcements and advertisements for the site and final event.


Helium was chosen for it's low density and safety as a practical gas
that will enable floatation for the body. There are many sources of helium, and
tanks can be obtained locally for $30 to $50 per unit(250 cuft).
The final projected volume is 4500 cuft, and should be able to lift 280 lbs.


Background Catch-Up-

So a lot has gone on since August, it was the morning of the 7th, after we'd stayed awake all night by the fire out back. The previous day's community festival at Milo bound my positivity and hopes for affect there- bands, kids playing, lots of neihbors showed up. And into the night we danced, until we found a lonely sprinkler and Gabriel enticed us to break out of our shells. At the top of the building the balloons floated high above, one large group of blue ones I'd placed earlier that day with Shawn. I felt their upward tug, and wondered how many pounds that force might lift. Later on I asked about floating up with a large balloon on my back, or maybe Gabriel suggested it, and we decided that it was entirely practical, and that we'd begin research tomorrow.
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