I spent yesterday at the volunteer training for the “Shaft Sign” event of the European Capital of Culture. There is extensive website (unfortunately only in German) www.schachtzeichen.de but there are also quite a few details in English about this project on the RUHR2010 Website.
In short: For the last week in May 350 large yellow ballons will hover high up (up till 80 metres) in the air above former mineshafts. At every mineshaft a company, an institution, a sportsclub, a churchgroup, any kind of assosicatiion will provide a stage for all different kinds of cultural program or exhibitions. But the real attraction will be the 350 yellow ballons up in the air all across 4000 square kilometres region of the Ruhr metropolitan area. These ballons will hover right above any kind of residential, business or industrial settlement, because coal mining took place everywhere in the region. It’s what made us what and who we are. And I just love the idea of bringing this back to our attention with this kind of visual image.
There have to be at least 5 persons on the ground of every ballon site all day long, because you need 5 people to get the ballon up or down, so there are a lot of volunteers needed and I gladly signed up for this. Because, like I said, I totally love this project. It’s too bad I couldn’t sign up for that many shifts during the 9 days of this project. I’ll plan to meet book232 some time on the first weekend (are we still on, by the way?), there’s the LOST finale to watch on Monday, I’ve got important work meetings on Thursday and Friday and friends of mine gave me a “Shaft Sign Picnic and Day Out” – Saturday as a birthday present. But on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Sunday I will help to get a ballon up (and down) somewhere.
I’m pretty sure all these ballons will be a unique image to look up to in the sky. Or to just look at from any height somehwere in the Ruhr metropolitan area.