Just One Week To Go…

Bristol, Balloons, Art Exhibition, 2015

Ever wondered what Bristol looks like from a balloon? Ever wondered what it feels like to peacefully drift above the city, and look down at the people below? Above Bristol sent local artists on a hot air balloon flight over the city and asked them to create a piece of art in response to their experiences, focussing on the theme ‘Topographies and Landscapes’.

We would like to invite you to the Private View on 5th August 2014 from 6-8pm at The Gallery Space, Hamilton House, Stokes Croft, Bristol. Drinks and nibbles provided.

Featuring work from: Laura Hopes, Joshua Ward, Andrew Bill, Sarah Laver, Isabel Galleymore and ana v.

Find out more:

Indiegogo – http://igg.me/at/Abovebristol/x/9796926

Facebook: facebook.com/abovebristol

Twitter: @abovebristol

Venue details: http://www.hamiltonhouse.org/

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A Few Photos From Metz…

Here are a few photos from yesterday’s mass ascent at Lorraine Mondial Balloon Festival, where a new world record was set when over 450 hot air balloons took off at the same time!

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Book a Balloon Flight With Elite Air

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A champagne balloon flight is the ultimate gift for any occasion. Experience the magic yourself! Click the picture to find out more.

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Above London: Phil Hooper and Matt Wiltshire Fly Over The Capital

At dawn on the 7th June 2015, 50 hot air balloons took off from Shoreditch Park in East London. The event was the first mass ascent over the capital since 1993, and was organised to raise awareness for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Above Bristol pilots Phil Hooper and Matt Wiltshire were lucky enough to fly as part of the spectacle. Here is their visual diary of how they got on…

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Above Bristol Artist Laura Hopes Talks About Miasma

7595277_origMy research into historical appreciation of landscape, in particular the sublime, has referenced the effect of mist or fog upon landscape, and the way that certain geographical features are enhanced or hidden. I am particularly taken by the idea of fog inversions, whereby a space is filled by mist and suggests a depth or denseness that isn’t actually there.

I have constructed a topographical model of the Bristol area which will be viewed from above, in an aerial fashion, and the geographical landmasses will be represented by a miasma of clouded perspex, inverting the effect of fog over the river.

I have made the sculpture using the course of the River Avon as the space at the centre of the piece. The land on either side of the gorge would be represented by a miasma of perspex, and the river as a space of imagination, history and memory.

Inspired by the way that sometimes an inversion of fog is trapped within the gorge, giving one the impression of a sea lapping at the top of these plummeting cliffs, and the Suspension Bridge’s stomach barely brushing the surface, I want to introduce an idea of towering height and depth, alongside a certain freedom engendered by the indeterminacy of the sculpted form.
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Lorraine Mondial Air Balloon Festival Starts Today!

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You may notice the skies are a little quieter over the next ten days in Bristol, as most of the city’s balloonists head across the channel and into rural France for the Lorraine Mondial Air Balloon Festival.

10399455_129027925978_2723540_nThe bi-annual event lasts for a week and attracts huge crowds, as well as pilots from all over the world. But how did this event start? Here is what the organiser’s say:

“Gathering the world has always been the desire of the organizers. There are over 12,000 hot air balloon pilots in the world, about 200 gas balloon pilots, less than twenty pilots of “Rozières”, and maybe a hundred airships pilots. This community is supported by approximately 40,000 permanent crew, casual and trainee pilots. Considering that less than 70 countries around the world have an aerostatic activity and that three-quarters of the pilots never leave their country or their region, the bet is ambitious to unite more than a thousand pilots and balloons, every other year in Chambley, France! Every odd year, they enjoy being here, sharing this big party and offering a festival of colors to thousands of spectators.”

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“It started oddly! Perhaps the idea is it came from a journalist who had written “This weekend, we’re going to BallonVille!”. He was right, it is the balloon city that is built for each edition and continues all year long through the activities of Pilâtre de Rozier Organisation.”

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Find out more about the Lorraine Mondial Air Balloon Festival here

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Benjamin Mounsey – Above Bristol Graphic Designer

A lot of you have been admiring our flyer design this year, and it is down to the handiwork of Bristol-based illustrator and designer Benjamin Mounsey. Ben regularly exhibits his work in galleries in Bristol and the South West, and works to commission.

Find out more about Ben at www.benjaminmounsey.com Bristol, Balloons, Art Exhibition, 2015

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Topographies and Landscapes Exhibition in Bristol!

Click the poster to find out more about our next exhibition!IMG_5925

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Above Bristol Artist Joshua Ward Tells Us About His Balloon Flight

In this post, sound artist Joshua Ward tells us about the work he plans to show at the Above Bristol exhibition. You can experience Joshua’s piece from 6th-12th August 2015 at Hamilton House, Stokes Croft.

When initially considering the path my artwork would take for this project, I conceived it to be something to do with the reactions of humans to hot air ballooning. What was obvious to me going into all of this was that like myself, a majority of the population have probably never been up in a hot air balloon before. In our 21st century lives, it isn’t actually that difficult to experience flight, yet I think we are all pretty aware how different flying in a hot air balloon would be to, say, commercial flight.

With this particular artwork, I plan to create a sonic artwork that in some way reflects, describes or reacts to the flight of hot air balloons. The original structure of the work and the way it will appear physically in a space has remained constant. The element of the work that has the possibility to alter depends entirely upon what I happen to ‘stumble’ across sonically and the sounds I actually end up recording. As with any recorded medium that relies upon the real world in a sort of documentation of an individual’s surroundings, there are almost unlimited possibilities as to what sounds I eventually include, what sounds I don’t include, the sounds I end up recording and the sounds I miss out on recording; there’s a high element of chance. Obviously the finalised output isn’t totally dependent upon chance; the editing process as with the editing process of a documentary or film can change the meaning and perception of the sounds I use and that give me an element of artistic control. So, in order to maximise artistic control and minimise the role of chance in the artwork, all one can do is record as much sound as possible.

When I finally got to experience being in a hot air balloon during flight, I recorded all of the sound I could – almost 2 hours worth of constant recorded sound to add to the numerous recordings taken from the ground that I have the pleasure of trawling through to extract useful elements to use within my artwork. The default mode you go into when recording sound for artistic use is being as quiet as possible meaning minimal talking – a near impossible feat when you’re experiencing something as unique as hot air balloon flight.

The one thing that surprised me on the flight is how easy it is to see and hear the people below you, to the point where you could almost converse with the people on land. Bristol, being a highly populated area, has an abundance of sounds when you are flying over it, but the ones that stood out were the spontaneous reactions shouted at us from people below, from their gardens or on the streets. Now, with the added benefit of having actually experienced hot air balloon flight, I have come to realise that sonically, a reaction to hot air ballooning is as much about the reactions of a city below you as it is the flight itself.

I expect my finished installation to feature this line of thought quite heavily. With a city such as Bristol, the sense of community is immensely strong. Things like hot air ballooning embedded in a city’s culture only strengthens that. Everyone living in Bristol has something to say about hot air balloons and I feel like those opinions and thoughts have a great artistic importance in my piece. I had the pleasure of interviewing young people in a local Bristol school and their reactions to hot air ballooning and its significance in Bristol were very interesting to me. Each of them could recall a moment where they’d seen or experienced hot air balloons in Bristol and they all seemed genuinely excited to converse with me about them. It’s clear that hot air ballooning holds a lot of meaning in Bristol, even though few people have experienced it first hand.

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Pilot’s Flight Diary: Phil Hooper

Above Bristol pilot Phil Hooper tells us what it’s like to fly the artists for this year’s exhibition…
IMG_5842I’ve taken to the skies over Bristol hundreds of times before, with all sorts of different people, but I’ve never flown any artists. I managed to fit in two flights over Bristol within two weeks of each other to take some of the Above Bristol artists on a flight. Artists, i’ve learned, look at the city in a completely different way to everyone else I have had the pleasure to take flying, looking at the way buildings are made up into different shapes, along with the colour contrasts of trees against the river, and many other different ways to look at things.
One artist, Josh, had sound recording equipment on board, so was capturing the noise of the burners. As we came down low over the edge of the city, we were able to hear the dogs barking and the friendly “hello” being shouted to us by lots of people. One of our landings was a little faster than the other, which meant that the basket tipped over – the passengers, Sarah and Laura, absolutely loved it and were giggling the whole time!
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Hot air balloons are something that just can’t be ignored, especially when they are only a few hundred feet above your house! Both children and adults love them, and we quite often find that once we have landed there have been a couple of cars that have pulled over to watch us, or there are kids there to help us pack away (which is always appreciated), hopefully we are able to encourage the next generation of young balloonists.
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I’m currently teaching people to fly at the moment, and in the process of becoming an instructor, and you will see me floating over Bristol in my bright orange balloon, Tango, throughout this year. We will also be taking part in this year’s Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, as well as many other events around the UK and Europe.
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