The Balloon Project acknowledges the suffering endured by the migrants and refugees; and of people who suffered the loss of friends and kin from political traumas. It pays tribute to those who perished from political persecutions around the globe; from racial violence and the random killings happening here in America. Let the breath of the woeful dead settle like a blanket of conscience around all politicians’ necks!
The Balloon Project - A multimedia art Installation
In 2016 when I saw the small Syrian boy’s dead body washed up to a shore I cried for him. I pondered on the number of breaths he took in his short life and the frightening surprising moment for him when he gasped for his last breath. He was just one 'small' number among the thousands, the hundred thousands, who fled their homes seeking hope and new life. Many unfortunate ones breathed their last breath and died.
We humans all begin with one breath and end with one breath. The Balloon Project is dedicated to the world refugees’ suffering and loss by violence. I conceived the idea in 2016 of using balloons to symbolize the “Life-Supporting” breathing, with the displaced people in mind. The sense of so many refugees fleeing violence from their home countries and how incredible numbers of these people would need or would have needed the “Life Supporting” air - as if respirators were to be provided at the time of their need, for that bonus extension of their lives before misfortune put them away.
In March 2018 I created a prototype for the balloon project showing one balloon inflating and deflating at a time sequence of 2-seconds air-in and 2-seconds air-out, through a control valve and an exhaust valve and both valves were connected to an air compressor. The valves were then connected through a timer that controlled the time for the air in-and-out of the balloon. The 2 seconds timing sequence was set up to create a sense of urgency, a rapid breathing pattern, as a person’s breathing in trauma.
My vision for the Balloon Project is a room installed with hundreds of balloons, of various colors and sizes representing people breathing in urgency. Each balloon represents a refugee in crisis. The sounds from the air’s in-and-out of the balloons connect one’s mind to the plights of the suffering refugees, of their breaths when fleeing for their lives. The clicking timers sound out urgency and emergency.
Some of the balloons are meant to pop as air continue to fill the balloons symbolizing the loss of lives.
The Installation will have pathways between the breathing balloons. When visitors go inside the room of the Balloon Project, they would be immersed in a sea of breathing sounds with different timing sequences and the clicking of the timers add on a sense of racing against the clock. The Balloon Project raises and intensifies the awareness of the world refugee crisis. In the Balloon Project we hear their urgent breathings and their pleadings to the world for help. Inside the room of balloons the visitors breathe along, side by side with the balloons, with the dying refugees. Here we are humans united by our breath.