Balloon Project
installation, sound
2011, 2017

Experiments in balloon motion and sound using an MS Kinect depth sensing camera.

Originally created for the Carnegie Mellon 1st & 2nd year MFA Graduate show entitled "Fresh Baked Goods" at Bakery Square in Pittsburgh PA, April 2011.


A machine stands in a room surrounded by balloons. Circulating fans blow the balloons over the machine which creates sound based on their movements.

Mode 1: Tones

Balloon height and x/y position control the pitch and panning of a treble and bass voice. The tones can be quantized into a certain key or a glissando can be employed for a theremin-style effect.

Mode 2: 99 Luftballons

The playback speed of Nena’s 99 Luftballons is controlled by balloon height. The balloons must be kept in the air for the song to play. Feed the machine.

Mode 3: 2016 Election Edition

The playback speed of Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy announcements is controlled by balloon height. Balloon color is used to track each candidate: red - Trump and blue - Hillary.


Built using Open Frameworks, ofxKinect, and OpenCV for balloon tracking and Pure Data for sound generation/playback.

Music: 99 Luftballons by Nena


2017 lab30 Media Art Festival, Kulturhaus Abraxas, Augsburg DE
2011 Fresh Baked Goods 1st & 2nd year Carnegie Mellon School of Art graduate show, Bakery Square, Pittsburgh PA USA


2017 Impuls Cafe, ZKM | Center for Art & Media Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe DE


Create Digital Music: Music from Floating Balloons via Kinect


Flickr set: 2017 & 2011

Balloon Project @ lab30

Balloon Project



Enthusastic children are hard on balloons, so there had better be plenty!


Popping Balloons: The space was very dry and dusty. As a result, many balloons popped involuntarily. This was an unintended feature which kept visitors on their toes.

Large Space: The next version of this installation will be made in a smaller space with more balloons...