Why a Balloon?

Earlier this week we received this question: Why a balloon? Why collect 10,000 balloons? And why does it cost a dollar for a balloon? A balloon might cost .05cents, maybe .20cents for a biodegradable one. Is that much overhead incurred by getting them to Kabul? And why aren’t we doing something more beneficial than a balloon? I’d love if it were some sort of education, food for the poor, or something that has more of an impact.

Our answer:

1. Why a balloon?
Throughout time, balloons have served as a symbol of hope, wonder, and possibility. From our research we know that this is true around the world regardless of culture, language, and skin color.

When we think of balloons, we think of Pascal from The Red Balloon, a French film from the 50s by Albert Lamorisse. We think of Carl Frederickson’s flying balloon-powered home in Pixar’s Up. We think of Professor Sherman’s adventure on Krakatoa in William Pene du Bois’ The Twenty-One Balloons. We think of Banksy’s iconic Balloon Girl. We think of all the balloons at every birthday party we ever had or attended as children. They were all good times. Every memory, magical. And for us, that’s what these orchestrations represent. Magic. The magic of joy, the magic of hope, the magic of imagination, the magic of dreams. But above all, the simple power of a community coming together to make this magic happen.

We give away 10,000 balloons to adults who are commuting to work at the beginning of the work week to celebrate them as individuals and as a community. We intervene in their daily routine to share with them hope, wonderment, and possibility.

2. Why is each balloon a dollar?

Your one dollar balloon purchase will cover the cost of one pink biodegradable balloon and the helium that will bring it to life in Afghanistan. One pink balloon will be gifted to a citizen of Kabul on your behalf this coming Spring. Part of your contribution will support art educational efforts (workshops with the University of Kabul, training sessions with project volunteers, panel discussions and lectures with local NGOs) that will be organized in Kabul, leading up to the installation. The series of seminars will be on topics such as contemporary art, cultural identity and urban public spaces. The project engages more than 130 volunteers from youth, civil society and artist groups.

The funds we raise through this campaign will help to offset the cost of all of the programming we are creating as well as food, transportation, and the uniforms for all of the volunteers who take part in the day of the orchestration.

3. Why not provide each community with food, healthcare or something that is more tangibly beneficial?

We believe that art and culture are just as important to people as food and healthcare. We believe that the gift of 10,000 balloons in the heart of the city will nurture the imagination (and the soul) of all involved for years to come.