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Video Full HD, 133 ‘, collaboration with Marco Baltisberger
Balloon flight 2.1.2022, La Brévine via stratosphere to Ziegelbrücke, Switzerland: Weather balloon, parachute, modified Stratocaster electric guitar, audio recorder, sensors, 360 degree camera, GPS tracker.


Attached to a weather balloon, Timo Ullmann and Marco Baltisberger sent a Stratocaster electric guitar up into the stratosphere, i.e. to the breathtaking height of 31’863 meters. On its return to its name-giving place, the Stratocaster was equipped with various battery-powered recording devices. Ullmann and Baltisberger present the audiovisual documentation of this spectacular flight in the library of the Aux Losanges, where the exploratory and narrative components of their mission become apparent. The space between the surface of the earth and outer space, which is intangible to us, can be experienced acoustically and visually through the information collected. During the balloon flight, the wind played the strings of the guitar, creating a spherical sound. The performance of the guitar and balloon can be read as a contemporary, artistic interpretation of the Aeolian harp, known since antiquity. The recordings provide the artists with an answer to their initial research question of what a Stratocaster might sound like in the stratosphere.
With their action, Ullmann and Baltisberger operate in a space that forces them to relinquish control, despite meticulous planning. It was uncertain from the outset whether the equipment would survive the extreme conditions (a maximum speed of 164 km/h and temperatures as low as minus 48°C were measured) and whether the sonde would be found again after the flight. In the exhibition, however, the balloon flight is shown as a dramaturgical composition, characterized at the beginning by a strong upward movement and clockwise rotation, followed by the flight through the clouds, the hovering in the stratosphere, the spectacular moment of the balloon bursting and the free fall until the opening of the parachute, which finally turns into the descent and ends with the circling moment of the landing.


Annina Pandiani, Art historian MA


The work is accompanied by a _957 magazine, which documents the journey into the stratosphere with video stills and an artist talk.
Order magazine _957 #135:, CHF 15.-