99 LUFTBALLONS // 31st December 2012
Tatton Park is a piece of land in Northwest England – a 16th-century estate – inhabited since the Iron Age. Last fall, the park hosted its third biennial, an event that gathered emerging artists around the theme flight.
French artist Olivier Grossetete created a poetic installation, a bridge to nowhere called Pont de Singe (“Monkey Bridge”). Using three helium balloons–similar to those used to take weather measurements– the installation sat in the midst of Tatton’s Japanese Garden.
Known for his public installations made from cardboard boxes, Grossetete has a background in set design. In 2007, he already built a small model of a bridge and set it afloat with a number of balloons. His parents, both physical scientists, helped him with the necessary calculations for the structure. “I called my parents first, and then a safety engineer to help me in calculating lift and drag,” he told to magazine Co.Design.
The pity is no one could walk on the bridge. That only because of insurance issues, as each balloon can support an extra 120 pounds of weight. “But I also think that this inaccessibility helps [Pont de Singe] avoid becoming a gadget or gag at the amusement park, instead becoming poetry. I think our imaginations takes us further than any balloon.”