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London community celebrates history with hot air balloon installation

24/06/2022 Jo Bailey Hot Air Balloons at Events

The skies of Thamesmead in southeast London will form the background of an innovative new art installation created to honour the past, present and future of the iconic London community.

Artist collective musson+retallick has worked with members of the local community for the past two years to create a series of illustrations that will be digitally printed onto hot air balloon fabric to create an aeronautical exhibition of the local area.

The balloon will be formed of 225 illustrations that reflect aspects of Thamesmead life. The hot air balloon project is called Fields of EveryWhen, and its conceptualisation is inspired by the iconic Bayeux Tapestry, which was created in the 11th century and detailed the events of the Norman Conquest. Showcasing images of the Royal Arsenal building, the Thamesmead Clock Tower and the Crossness Pumping Station, the artwork is intended to capture the spirit of the community.

Throughout the summer, the balloon will take to the skies over the area. Tethered flights will enable local people to enjoy the artwork as it floats above them. An immersive installation will also accompany the performance from the ground where visitors will be able to walk around inside the structure to explore the images from close up.

Artists Neil Musson and Jono Retallick said that they chose the hot air balloon as it was one of the first means of transportation, and its serene, orb-like shape enables onlookers to enjoy the performative element of this floating gallery.

Those wishing to get a taste of hot air balloon adventures for themselves can take off on hot air balloon flights in Bath, Bristol and other areas of the southwest.

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