California-based artist Doug Aitken has revealed the fruits of his latest commission; a 100 foot tall hot air balloon covered in a Mylar reflective coating which will travel to various destinations in the USA on a ‘road trip on the sky’.
The piece, called New Horizons, has been commissioned by the Trustees for Preservation which preserves parks, public buildings, farms, and beaches in the USA. The theme of the commission was art and landscape, and this art intervention of Aitken’s manages to capture the relationship between the two perfectly.
The hot air balloon is twice the size of a conventional one and its reflective surface enables people looking at it to appreciate the surrounding landscape from a new perspective. The balloon will make 16 stops on its journey, reflecting iconic parts of the American landscape including Martha’s Vineyard, the DeCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, and other places in New England.
Aiken’s work is famous for featuring ‘happenings’ and New Horizons is no exception. At each of these spots, curated conversations will take place, members of the public will be able to see the balloon up close, and even take a ride in this incredible balloon. Musicians will use the balloon’s gondola as a studio and create a soundscape at each of these happenings.
Aitken has no doubt chosen the hot air balloon as an art object because it conjures up such a sense of wonder. To sample for yourself what visitors to Aitken’s installation might experience, we offer hot air balloon adventures in Bath, Gloucester and other parts of the South West.