visiting designers

21 Balloons

david reinfurt came to town and had us all slow down. we spent the first day of his visit at the providence athenaeum searching through the collection for a favorite book. we were then instructed to memorize a passage, record the memorization and then perform it the next day.

I chose a french children’s book “21 balloons” which is all about travel and adventure. go figure. for my performance, I lined up 10 balloons filled with helium and used them as props as I moved through the passage.

there are two kinds of travel.

the usual way is to take the fastest imaginable conveyance along the shortest road. the other way is not to care particularly where you are going or how long it will take you, or whether you will get there or not.

this second way of getting around has always been pointed out as the nicest for you are able to see more of what is going on in the world and also how nature is getting along.

not long from now, in the atomic age, it is easy to imagine that travel will be
tremendously fast. in order to travel, for example, from new york to calcutta, you will simply have to walk into a station in new york, through one door into a room beamed on calcutta, out another door into the station in calcutta, then out into calcutta’s streets.

it will take you no longer than it takes you to walk through any ordinary room and you wont feel a thing. you will atomically broken down into a radio wave, transmitted by radio to Calcutta, and atomically restored upon being picked up by the radio receiver in calcutta. travel to any capital in the world will be instantaneous, for once man discovers the deeper secrets of nature — time and space will stop being paired together.

the best way of travel, however, if you aren’t in any hurry at all, if you don’t care where you are going, if you don’t like to use your legs, if you want to see everything quite clearly, if you don’t want to be annoyed at all by any choice of directions is in a balloon. in a balloon you can decide only when to start, and usually when to stop. the rest is left entirely to nature. how fast you will go is left to the winds, it is a wonderful way to travel.