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Hot air balloon creates art in communication

A Wal-Mart parking lot in Canal Winchester might seem like an odd place to begin an art project, but it was the perfect place to take off in a hot air balloon.

“Line of Flight: A Conversation on Love” is an art project sponsored by the Bureau for Open Culture, an organization within the Columbus College of Art and Design.

Cassandra Troyan, an OSU student in history of art, and Nichole Langille, a recent Ohio State graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts in painting and drawing, took off in a hot air balloon the morning of Oct. 21 with the goal of exploring conversations about love through the distance of those on the ground and those in the balloon.

“We are having a conversation about love and different aspects of love and intimacy and how that conversation relates to the one we are having in the air,” said Troyan. “Then also at the same time [people on the ground] are going to have megaphones, we have them in the air as well.”

Arranging a hot air balloon flight was just about as complicated as love itself. The project was rescheduled twice because of bad weather. Rain kept the balloon from taking off, which proved frustrating for organizers.
“An art project that is completely dependent on the weather, it’s not stable. It’s not paintings in a gallery,” said Troyan.

These complications only complemented the tone of the project. “We can plan for the event and we can prepare for it but in the end we don’t know exactly what will happen in the end. We don’t know exactly where the conversation will take us either,” said Langille.

Troyan and Langille took off in the hot air balloon assisted by an operator and armed with their megaphone and a collection of works that expressed love. All participants had the same collection, which was read from the air and from the ground. As they glided through the air they were chased by cars that were attempting to communicate.

The caravan stopped and began reading from the collection of works in an attempt to make contact with Troyan and Langille.

“[Communication] actually worked pretty well. We were able to talk to people and they could hear us and we could hear them,” said Troyan.

Navigating through the surburbs in a car proved to be a challenge as the balloon roamed through the air. Much like the theme of the event, some chasing the balloon were successful and others were not.

Adding to the challenge, no one following the balloon was familiar with Canal Winchester. When Troyan and Langille landed in the parking lot of a middle school half of the cars that had followed the balloon had been able to stay with them.

“That is what we were thinking about in terms of this project: … that distance and being able to see things more clearly from a distance, and being able to see things from a full perspective,” Troyan said.

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