Flying an Octopus

Back in 2003, we built the first piloted latex balloon sculpture. This sculpture used 20,000 balloons and 10,000 cubic feet of helium. The pilot, John Ninomiya, flew the sculpture over Sodus Bay, just off of Lake Ontario. A local filmmaker, Tim Bayer, made a documentary of the project. It was only released on DVD, but as it was shot in SD video years ago, before all of our TVs and monitors were upgraded to HD quality, sales of it pretty much ended a few years ago. I thought now it was worth bringing it out of the archive and just making it available for those that are interested in seeing what Airigami projects were like over a decade ago. I actually asked Tim about a year ago for permission to share it online, but just never got around to uploading it. So, at long last, here is the full hour-long documentary for all of you to enjoy.

It’s fascinating to me looking back at the work that the whole crew did back then. Our balloon palette has grown quite a bit, and our design style and technique have also evolved significantly. Still, we were able to pull off quite a spectacle in those early days of massive Airigami projects. Even with the evolution of our art, I’m still proud of that project. It was the first one that really brought the community in to work with us.

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