The Bold Tendencies Family Day took place in September - a day full of balloons, colour and art-orientated fun.
One balloon hovered above the family helium-filled happenings to report back on our blog...
Balloon's Eye View
It was a bright and sunny day in September – a concession from the imminent autumn – and there was a stillness and calm in the air. It encircled the Bold Tendencies roof-top sculpture commission, James Bridle’s Right to Flight.
The central component of the installation is a military-grade Helikite balloon, drawing attention to the themes of technology and surveillance. It flew serenely 150ft above the Bold Tendencies Peckham car-park, in optimal piloting conditions of clear skies and low wind. The tranquillity was soon gloriously shaken off as 250 children arrived and scattered through the car-park for the Bold Tendencies Family Day, supported by Cass Art.
The children initially ascended through the levels of the multi-storey complex on a magical mystery tour with Vanessa Woolf, a famed local story-teller. They finally reached the open roof-top level as Woolf’s re-telling of Icarus neared its zenith. Subsequently, these boys and girls – naturally with several princesses amongst them, Disney ball-gowns to boot – were strewn amongst the foliage of the Derek Jarman Garden for Peckham, adding movement and vitality to the flora and fauna of this sanctuary space.
Soon, magic carpets of tarpaulin were fully occupied by balloon-hat-makers, painters and collagists, whilst a gigantic mural of a sky filled with balloons and tall buildings, designed by artist Melissa Launay, was eye-catchingly embellished. A special mention must go to the ingenious creator of the ‘Lol Tower’. Surely we can get Boris onto making this skyscraper a permanent addition to London’s skyline?
Meanwhile, little ballooners enjoyed story-telling workshops with wise Auntie Gloria, whilst musical workshops ranging from instrument-making to improvisation ensured that the roof-top space was permeated with the entropy of melodies.
As the balloon continued to fly, piloted by Bridle with assistance from the Bold Tendencies volunteers, a treasure-trove of materials provided by Cass Art was drawn upon with relish to create inventive artworks of all kinds in honour of the Helikite.
Our more connoisseurial creators favoured the luxuriously smooth Derwent Art Bars, whilst amongst our boldest young artists, bright paint was particularly patronised (Reeves Ready Mix in Fluorescent Pink proves a favourite). Everyone enjoyed getting creative in response to the commission, sampling coloured paper and glitter, stickers, feathers and of course googly eyes, and thus creating unique visual marvels to take home. Bigger ballooners constructed their own mini hot-air balloons, using cardboard boxes and helium; the successful ones even floated up into the sky above Peckham!
Satisfied that their balloon designs are perfect, families then enthusiastically devised their most original poses for aerial photographs taken from the camera attached to the Helikite, lying on the ground in fantastical shapes and compositions. Those of a more contemplative bent gathered in the Bold Tendencies film tank (designed by TDO architects) to enjoy special screenings of Pixar’s UP (Pete Docter, 2009) and Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon (1956).
As the day drew to a close and the sun gradually began to melt into the horizon, families left with pink Opera Rose Cass bags in hand, filled with sketchbooks so that the creativity inspired by the day can continue to take off. Just like the balloon that has steadily marked the skyline in the September sunshine.
Guest Blog by Bold Tendencies
Bold Tendencies is a summertime non-profit art commissioning organisation which has transformed a disused multi-storey car-park in Peckham. The Bold Tendencies programme for 2014 includes sculpture installation, James Bridle: Right to Flight, as well as musical and theatrical events, and is home to the Derek Jarman Garden for Peckham and Frank’s Café.
You can visit the Bold Tendencies website here.