balloon piece

by | Sep 27, 2016 | Artwork #1: Score, Projects

balloon piece

  1. acquire a deflated balloon. any pattern or color will do.
  2. speak your mind into the balloon, filling it with something you’ve been holding onto.
  3. take a deep breath, & then exhale into the balloon.
  4. capture all of the air & words inside, & tie the balloon closed.
  5. carry the balloon with you until you feel ready to feel ready to finally let go of the burden. take a pin or otherwise sharp object & burst the balloon, freeing yourself as well.

2016 autumn


balloon4 balloon3 balloon2 balloon1

My piece is heavily inspired by Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. I have been a fan of her work for some time, & I am not afraid to admit that I even modeled the formatting of my instructions after the printed version of Grapefruit that I own. I wanted my score to act somewhat like a spiritual successor to her works in this series, as I believe they fill an incredibly interesting role as not only instructions, but art pieces in and of themselves, as poetry. There’s this interesting conjunction of Yoko creating art through her scores that go out & ask for others to create their own art using Yoko’s guidance. I also highly admire her more surrealistic scores that either cannot be carried out, or that ask the participant to create incorporeal works within their own minds. Throughout my creative process, I dabbled in a few nonphysical instructions, such as a piece that asked the participant to swim through a nightmare, but ultimately I decided to follow through with a score I initially created last year. This score, called “balloon piece,” is heavily influenced by the kinds of instructions that require the participant to use either their own body or are related to the body in some way. I’m very interested in the physical interaction between the artist & the art in these pieces. In particular, I drew from “blood piece” & “voice piece for soprano.” In “blood piece,” Yoko asks the artist to paint with their own blood. In my piece, similarly, I ask the artist to fill a balloon with their words. I want the artists to put a piece of themselves into their “painting,” so that it holds real weight for them. I would’ve loved to work with blood, but I’d be a little worried about having my classmates or friends cut themselves open for my art, so instead I chose to instruct a more metaphorical letting of blood, in the form of filling the balloon with a great burden the artist has been carrying with them for a time. The “paint” in my case still comes from inside, but there is no physical pain required for this piece. Yoko’s “voice piece for soprano” is probably more obvious when it comes to similarities with my own score. Both require the artist’s voice, in Yoko’s case, a scream, & in my case, a whisper. I love the mental image of screaming against the wind, as described in Yoko’s voice piece, & although I’ve yet to actually go out & try this piece, it exists so vividly in my mind that it served as inspiration for my own score. I realize that the act of speaking into a balloon will most likely not fill it a discernable amount, but I am more focused on that imaginary, intangible image of words & feelings & possible grudges filling up the balloon. I do however, want the popping of the balloon to truly mimic the feeling of finally letting something go, so I do ask for the artist to exhale into the balloon, hopefully filling it with enough of their energy to inflate it a decent amount. The exhale is also meant to be therapeutic, something which I think a lot of Yoko’s pieces seem to strive for. This piece is meant to be very personal & unique for each & every person who creates it, as unique as the words that fill the balloon. A lot of the scores in Grapefruit will create one of a kind pieces, which I think is truly neat, seeing as everyone in the world could be reading the exact same instructions, but come out with something different. I want my balloons to feel the same way– even though the physical piece may look very similar to a neighbor’s, the artist should take pride in knowing that their piece is filled with their essence alone. Another aspect that makes each balloon unique to the artist is how long they decide to hold onto it. I expect some participants to pop the balloon immediately after inflating it, which is fine, but I hope that some will truly hold onto their balloon until they’ve processed the feelings inside of it, & pop it for cathartic purposes. If a participant can find catharsis through my score, then I’ll have fulfilled my purpose.