This Saturday and Sunday, Million Fishes Gallery on Bryant Street will undergo a magical transformation. Guests
will step into a pitch black room surrounded by two thousands
LED-filled, motion sensitive balloons. It will be total Balloonacy!
As to what it'll be like beyond this description, it's hard to say, since this is the world's first interactive balloon immersion. But unless you're this woman, I imagine it'll be a pretty enchanting experience wading through a room full of glowing balloons that respond to your movements. And better yet, it's totally free to participate.
I've always thought balloons are pretty cool, so I was curious to know more about the people behind the event, and what event atteendees can expect. I asked Balloonacy! co-creator George Zisiadis to tell me more:
The Bold Italic: Who are the people behind Balloonacy!? How did you come up with the idea for it?
George Zisiadis: Balloonacy!
is the loving creation of George Zisiadis, Will Skinner, and Isaac
Shivvers. We're old friends from college and are always starting up
unique, one of a kind, projects that are either crazy or ridiculous, or
ideally both. In March I organized the SF Funk Truck, while Will independently tried to launch a fully decorated Christmas tree into the stratosphere. Two years ago we had decided to fill up an
old squash court with thousands of balloons just for the hell of it, and
people went nuts with happiness inside of it. Seeing that, we thought we'd take it to a whole other
level this time. We pitched the idea [for Balloonacy!] to the Awesome Foundation for a
$1000 grant, they loved it, and boom, we were rolling.
TBI: How are the balloons filled with LED lights and what makes them motion
sensitive? Who developed the balloons to make this happen?
GZ: Oddly enough, nobody has decided
to mass produce motion-sensitive, light reactive balloons, so we've
custom designed and built them ourselves! Isaac, a Berkeley Astrophysics
PhD student, is our electronics mastermind. We're custom building very
small circuits that have a super bright LED connected to a
motion-sensitive tilt switch. It's small enough for us to insert it
through the neck of the balloon. The end result is a seemingly
regular balloon that magically lights up and then fades away everytime
it's moved. Now imagine tons of those inside of a pitch black room!
TBI: How many people will be able to be inside Balloonacy! at once?
GZ: We're thinking about 10 at a time, but we're not about to stop anybody from having fun.
TBI: What can people expect at Balloonacy!?
can expect a truly once-in-a-lifetime, constantly changing experience
that will stimulate most of their senses in a pretty damn unique way.
Hopes for participants include catharsis, convulsive euphoria,
self-actualization, and a connection with and understanding of the
universe. You know, all the standard stuff.
Our core motive in producing this crazy event has
simply been awesomeness for its own sake, and we just wanna show people a
great time that they'll never forget.
TBI: Is Balloonacy! an all-ages event or for adults only?
GZ: Balloonacy! is all ages*, but NOT for anybody who dislikes fun.
Balloonacy! takes place May 12-13 at Million Fishes from noon-10 p.m.
*NB: Loud music will be blasting in the balloon room and it'll be a club-like atmosphere, so you may want to keep that in mind if you're thinking about bringing the wee ones this event. I'd suggest families going early in the day rather than later in the evening.