Exhibition Update - June 7, 2019

The balloons represent migrants in flight. When people enter the Balloon Project Room they become aware of their own breathing and the breaths simulated by the Balloons. Next to the Breathing Balloons people sense the plight of the refugees. Occasionally a balloon or two will pop, which symbolize a loss of life. Inside the Balloon Room people and refugees are one in breath. The Balloon Project is a small branch of the river of revolution in protest of the current political administration.

During the exhibition video documentations will stream over the balloons. The documentaries are selectively chosen to show various political situations around the world that people are facing today. This provides an alternate perspective on the current refugee and migrant crisis. Streaming over the ‘breathing’ balloons will be films: “Exit: Leaving Extremism Behind” by Karin Winther, and “Don’t Tell Anyone”by Mikaela Shwer and the video production of “Immigrants of the 21st Century in America” by artist Yan Kong. Winther and Shwer’s stories added a wider angle to the migrant crisis and how it had changed the lives of ordinary people and what people were facing in the current volatile political environment. All films in the program of the Balloon Project except Yan Kong’s video production are courtesy of Women Make Movies. www.wmm.com

The Balloon Project Special Events schedule

AWA Gallery, 136 15th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Admission: Free

Poetry Reading

Saturday, November 2, 2019 4 - 5:30 PM

Sarah Riggs, Celina Su, Asiya Wadud, Jianna Park willeach read from her poem collections. Sarah Riggs will collaborate with Elena Berriolo for Feed Me theLine - a sewing performance to spoken words.

Movie Nights

Friday, October 25

7PM - A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME
Afghan filmmaker Sahra Mani, 2018
A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME is an awe-inspiring vérité documentary about a young Afghan woman's brave fight to seek justice and protect her children after experiencing years of abuse at the hands of her father. In 2014, she appeared on national television to publicly accuse him, and became the first Afghan woman to bring a case of incest to court despite threats from her uncles and brothers and judges who labelled her a liar. In a country where the systematic abuse of girls is rarely discussed, Afghan filmmaker Sahra Mani's film tells a story of bravery, love, hope and resilience and sheds light on a broken judicial system and the women it seldom protects.

8PM - BIRTH ON THE BORDER
Ellie Lobovits, Mexico/USA, 2018, 28 min
This intimate and personal documentary follows two women from Ciudad Juárez as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border legally to give birth in Texas, putting their hearts and bodies on the line as they confront harassment at the hands of U.S. border officials. One million people legally cross the U.S.-Mexico border every day in both directions. Among them are women who cross for the purposes of childbirth. With the threat of obstetrical violence in Mexican hospitals and the desire for natural birth with midwives, Gaby and Luisa make the difficult decision to cross the border to El Paso, seeking a safer future for their children. Even with papers, their journeys are uncertain. Against the backdrop of oppressive U.S. border policy and growing debates over immigration, these women's stories of risk, strength, and resilience shed light on the realities and challenges of life on the border.

Friday, November 1

7PM - DEFIANT LIVES
Sarah Barton, Australia, 2018, 85 min
DEFIANT LIVES is a triumphant film that traces the origins of the world-wide disability rights movement. It tells the stories of the individuals who bravely put their lives on the line to create a better world where everyone is valued and can participate. Featuring interviews and rarely seen archival footage, the film reveals how these activists fought to live outside of institutions, challenged the stigmas and negative image of disability portrayed by the media, demanded access to public transportation, and battled to reframe disability rights as a social responsibility relevant to us all. DEFIANT LIVES is an excellent tool to encourage discussions about diversity and disability for students, audiences and community groups.

8PM - I AM THE REVOLUTION
Benedetta Argentieri
A Portrait of Three Women in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq Leading the Fight for Gender Equality. Politician Selay Ghaffar is one of the most wanted people in the world by the Taliban and yet she still travels through Afghanistan to educate other women about their rights. Rojda Felat is a commander of the Syrian Democratic Army, leading 60,000 troops to defeat ISIS, including freeing their hold on Raqqa and rescuing its people. And Yanar Mohammed, named by the BBC as one of 100 most influential women in the world in 2018, pushes for parliamentary reform in Iraq while running shelters for abused women.
Despite battling seemingly overwhelming obstacles, all three women display resilience, bravery and compassion. I AM THE REVOLUTION challenges the images of veiled, silent women in the Middle East and instead reveals the extraordinary strength of women rising up on the front lines to claim their voice and their rights.

Work in Progress, January 29, 2019

The collages were out. While looking at the white balloons, the white supporting tubes, the white cover cloth beneath and the white wall, I wrack my brain to come up with something that could be visually exciting in the presentation. I thought it is a three dimensional canvas. How do you paint a canvas like it is. The next thing I found myself doing is setting up my video projector. Yes! Play a movie over this white background. I found lots of videos about the migrants and refugees in Youtube. I experimented. The result was amazing. The video as it played it colors inflating/deflating balloons. I yet have to get permission from the media to have license to use these videos. I cannot use these videos as part of my exhibition presentations. However, here are a few images.. I think this is it. The best visual presentation of the Balloon Project so far. I am committed to this. Now the job remains for me is to produce my own videos.

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Work in Progress. January 28, 2019

The visual effect of the 32 balloons posted January 9 has a small but uncomfortable problem. The balloons were looking like Cheerios. A bit too cheerful for the ideas they are to represent which is refugees and migrants fleeing for their lives with battered breathing. I experimented with different color scheme. All the balloons are now white with a few transparent. Supporting tubings are painted white. the cover cloth beneath is white. I visualize that the balloons would blend in - white balloons, white tubes, white cloth and white wall. They will just float and suspend in the air, pulsating with air.

A week’s work has proven that the balloons are stubbornly rooted with the white tubes. Perhaps I do not know how to light the area because these balloons did not float and suspend as I had hoped for when inflating and deflating. The balloons presentation was rigid and static.

Functional settings at this stage are: The Lenticular Valve to the air-source pneumatic tubings are set at quarter turn to allow air stream-in slower and a bit less forceful. The blue airflow valve are set straight to fill front and end balloons at once in beginning, then a quarter turn to allow even distribution of air for front and end balloons. Regulator for air signal is 20psi. Regulator for air source is 60psi. Timer setting for first 16 balloons is 5sec in/2 sec out; for the 2nd set of 16 is 4sec in/ 3sec out.

Stay tune for March. Here is the blinking light bulb. The balloons would be in color again. We will have a guerrilla force working to make floor to ceiling collages with images of refugees and migrants embellished with color paints. The balloons would be in colors. Tubings would be painted with colors. The covered cloth and part of the floor would be a colorful collage also. The goal is to have the balloons floating and suspending in the air within a consuming colored stage.

Work in Progress. January 9, 2019

The Balloon Project will showcase 32 balloons at AWA Gallery, Brooklyn, October 15 - November 15, 2019. For future update informations visit yankong9.com/blog

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Work in Progress January 4, 2019

The boxes that were made to house the balloons were abandoned for shorter interconnecting air passages since the boxes had created longer air passage routes and had taken too much air supply leaving less air for the inflation/deflation for the balloons. The new configuration for the 16 balloons using tighter and closer connections between balloons was more efficient and lesser taxing on the compressor.

60 gallon tanks will run the 16 balloons for 16 minutes at 40 psi and a separate regulator at 20psi for the air flow for air signal timing device.

Work in Progress, December 2018

The Balloon Project in Progress. 16 balloons. Compressor 60 gallons tank, 3.5 HP, 220V. The 60 gallons full tank will run at 40psi using a regulator for 12 min. The inflation/deflation of balloons at 4 sec in 3 sec out.

Fantasizing running the balloons like in a circus with a monkey peddling a bike that channel air into the balloons. If anyone knows the mechanic of doing this please email me. It’s the same principle of a motor running the Ferris Wheel. A stationery bike with an electric motor would work similarly. Talking out loud and throwing ideas in the air.