[ISEA2006] Artists Statement: Jenny Marketou & Katie Salen — 99 Red Balloons

Curator Statement

99 Red Balloons is a live action multi-player street game about flying perspectives inspired by “Midsummer Nights Dream” and the 1980s pop song “99 Red (Luft) Balloons” by Nene. It is a project that proposes an alternate story, an oppositional one, performed through play in public space. We propose a situation of “utopia” where, through the action and interaction of a community of happy players (agents and super agents), a mass of 99 red helium balloons are sent up, up into the sky above Cesar Chavez Plaza and surrounding sites to take over surveillance of the city. Each balloon is 5 feet in diameter when inflated, outfitted with a small, hidden wireless camera, and connected to a 60 feet tether, held and manipulated by players during the game to control the height and position of the balloon. The city becomes interactive, lively, visible, imagined, red, and passionate! Teams control 18 inflated red weather balloons, nine equipped with wireless cameras designed to record the game and broadcast to the lounge in the Tech Museum.

The Tech Museum, San Jose thetech.org

Support from On Net Surveillance Systems, Inc (OnSSI) and AXIS Communications