Relationship with Flight
During my residency in Berlin, I traveled to Munich to visit the aviation wing at the History of Science Museum.
I researched early aviation methods and the experimental objects of one's relationship with flight -the balloon,
the parachute, and the kite. “As far back as 300 BC, the Greek scholar Archimedes discovered that the lifting
force of a body was equal to the gravitational force of the area displaced by the body.” In 1709, a painting
depicting the presentation of the first model air-balloon to the Portuguese Friar conveys a sense of wonder and
awe displayed by the religious order. In 500 AD the first kite was flown in China and evolved into the human
glider, a fighter kite in the form of a cube, and the double box kite, a predecessor to the early canvas winged
planes. During the Renaissance period, Leonardo Da Vinci sketched an early parachute design consisting of a
rigid frame in the form of a pyramid with a linen chute. In the late 1800’s the weather balloon was used to
gather atmospheric data sending up a helium filled balloon and a kite to steer the parachute back to land.
My work examines the private altar, death rites, and mourning rituals centered around a study of scientific
reason and the power of belief. For this exhibition, I created an installation referencing objects from my
deceased grandmother’s altar and one’s relationship to flight. The drop ceiling is made with paper and is
activated by the viewer -the 4th object. The kite is designed in the form of a cube using wood and fresh
flowers, changing with time to symbolize the flight. The spherical balloon is inflated with helium and covered
with ash, weighing it down to however and transport the ash about the space. The parachute sails are cast in
wax in the form of a pyramid and as the wick burns, its evidence is a measurement of time. Like the mourning
objects on my grandmother’s altar, these objects reside in a private space responding to an unseen physicality.
The temperature in the space and one’s presence affects these objects as they change with time.