Photography Installation: Analogue photography (B/M & colour positive and negative prints) | Sound | Light setting | Sculpture
© Maria Paschalidou 2006

Collaboration with the author, George Sympardis

Inside the balloons: Text | George Sympardis – Images | Maria Paschalidou

This site-specific installation developed in the industrial space of the former factory of PALCO in Petralona, Athens in the framework of the project Blind Date #12, Artists + Writers (Idea | Project coordination | Curator: Adonis Volanakis). For the realization of the project six artists were invited to collaborate in pairs with six authors in order to create installation environments inside the factory. In The Balloons Prose Poem I associate audio and visual materials with texts written by ‘my blind date’, the Greek author G. Sympardes. In particular, I used analogue photographs from my archive to reflect on and visualize Sympardis’ selected fragments from his published books Medium and Dimitris, the useless.

The installation consisted of 60 large balloons of 80 cm in diameter; each one containing printed images and texts. The installation occupied a large room in the abandoned factory where audiences could experience the acts of reading, listening and viewing in an environment dimly lit. Flashlights were available to facilitate the visibility of the texts and images inside the balloons. At a specific scheduled time, on the closing date of the exhibition, audiences were invited to participate in the process of de-installation, paying homage to the ephemeral by breaking the balloons and taking the texts and/or the images of their choice.

The Balloons Prose Poem installation created these circumstances under which viewers participate in the ritual of searching for the art product, destroying it, and finally obtaining pieces of it.

The title of the installation draws from Oscar Wilde’s poem “Les Ballons”.

Against these turbid turquoise skies
The light and luminous balloons
Dip and drift like satin moons,
Drift like silken butterflies;
Reel with every windy gust,
Rise and reel like dancing girls,
Float like strange transparent pearls,
Fall and float like silver dust.
Now to the low leaves they cling,
Each with coy fantastic pose,
Each a petal of a rose
Straining at a gossamer string.
Then to the tall trees they climb,
Like thin globes of amethyst,
Wandering opals keeping tryst
With the rubies of the lime.

-Oscar Wilde, Les Ballons


  • Blind Date #12, Artists + Writers. Industrial space PALCO. Athens, 14–24 December 2006. Curator, Project idea & Coordination: Adonis Volanakis


  • Maria Paschalidou, The Balloons Prose Poem at Simmons, M. (2015) Making Photographs. London: Bloomsbury, pp.151-53