France moves towards the record for fully solar powered human flight

On Saturday 27th of October 2018, Aerocene community established a new worldwide record. Six passengers were buoyant with the air for 79 minutes, staying afloat without using any propane, discerning itself from all other certified solar crafts in existence, and achieving the acknowledgment for the first fully solar-powered human flight in France.

235 YEARS AGO, THE GROUNDS OF VERSAILLES WITNESSED THE FIRST EVER HUMAN BALLOON FLIGHT. A HOT-AIR BALLOON BUILT BY THE BROTHERS JOSEPH-MICHEL AND JACQUES-ÉTIENNE MONTGOLFIER TOOK THE FIRST HUMANS ON AIR AND ENTERED THE HISTORY OF BALLOONING.https://aerocene.org/sussurrus-meets-aerocene-in-dresden/

As a new flânerie but with a clear purpose, Aerocene imagines air nomadism, a paradigm rethought to suit, and to function with humans and non-humans, floras and seas, moving around in symbiosis with planetary forces. It’s crucial to introduce a re-articulation of how we sense the world and its species, and to start thinking about how an equally distributed right to mobility might look. By looking at the world through these lenses, we can try to learn to not only respond to challenges posed by climate change but also actively prevent it from extending its reach.

Acting in liminal places, beyond borders and excluding surfaces, envisioning a future free from fossil fuels, lifted only by the heat of the sun and traveling around the world following wind currents and atmospheric forces, the aerosolar flight performance was set in Vallée du Loing in Moret-Loing-et-Orvanne in France, 2 hours outside of Paris.

We moved away from the French capital in the early morning, away from fluxes of life and subjective ambiances. Every so often, we catch urban societies and crowded cities, expressing and reflecting their portraying image to themselves. Mirroring the mise en scene of individual looks can echo a commonality but is frequently trapped in self-reflection, using the same image frame over and over again. “Paris is the city of mirror. The city is reflected in a thousand eyes, a thousand lenses…. the immaterial element of the city, her emblem…” (Walter Benjamin)

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THE ARRIVAL

Embraced by a gentle fog, submerging everything that is visible to the human eye, we arrived to the departure spot around 7:30am. Surrounded by an impalpable vaporous aura, it took everyone long to see anything palpable at all. Finally, focus increased, enabling sights to land, distinguishing three motionless shadows in the  mist. The amorphous entities stood still in the field, like prehistoric animals resting in a white cloud, waiting for the sun to appear.

The break of day showed no distinction between what is air, what is ground and what is not.. all floating in a misty landscape, margins and borders staying blurry and undefined.

Tiny figures, like soaring particles in the atmosphere, started moving around in small clusters, following an harmonious choreography playing with the fluctuating tempo of the Earth.

The energy spread in the air, perceivable through a breezy fingertips tickling, leading hands to move together with the rest of the community reunited on the field.

On the ground

How can we cool down the planet? How can we foster a new sensitivity towards the earth, the atmosphere and each other? How can we explore without exploiting? How to subvert the fossil fuel regime with regime of the Sun?

Preparing the field with a circular multilayered reflective launchpad created a space for atmospheric collaboration and thermodynamic imagination, where the mirrored surface harnesses thus reflecting the Sun’s energy.

Using a silver-coloured reflective surface, a kind of mirror image shining back at itself, in a country known to have rearticulated the luminous, the use of light in representations of the real and the unknown, as part of an art historical narrative, Aerocene – perhaps undeliberately – detaches itself from established domains of power, becoming, appearing in super(art-i)ficial illumination.

Collaborative action. We all joined the Earth’s albedo, bending light together. Recasting the Sun’s energy back to the cosmic, a dual energy conversion appeared but happened slowly. Through atmospheric forces themselves, the internal air of the D-O AEC was heated, enabling the sculpture to finally be On Air while at the same time pushing forward a cooling, a de-heatation of the Earth’s and its boundary layer.

An on-and-off hacking of the terrestrial sphere, leaving no footprint of its passage, the Aerocene community prepared the hemispherical aerosolar port ray by ray, action by action, preparing to take off the first fully solar human flight in France.

ON TIME

It takes time to inflate an aerosolar sculpture, filling it with emissions-free gases. It takes time for the sun to fully embrace it, furnishing its inside with heat. It takes time to start feeling the energy concentrating in and around the envelope. Time is all and cohabitation is everything.

Humans, sun, winds and soil are key ingredients in Aerocene flights. The cooperation grows and extends as they await the right moment to take off.  A new aerosolar intuition marks every lift as community members flourish with each and every flight.

Energy collides, refracts and reflects, becoming all around the place, giving life to a kind of shamanic significance.  It re-links us to the smallest and to the biggest elements of the universe. It initiates a rhythmic walk around the path of the reflective shape. Its focus point is all energies surrounding it, waiting to be collected, mixed and merged with the one of the Sun. It creates an uplifting vortex that, believe it or not, made the sculpture buoyant, defying gravity once again.

Floating in Aerocene, different ecologies of practice emerge, changing our modes of interaction and reflecting. In defiance, the current realities of the Anthropocene promotes climate instability and inherent proliferation of inequalities.

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ON AIR

It’s like jumping on the moon, but going towards the sun. You are bouncing up, you are bounce back down. The sculpture eagerly striving to be on air. It is a dance: on air, on the ground, on air, on the ground, and everytime you jump, you are lifting time. It becomes longer and longer, until you go up, and it stays still: lifted only by the sun and nothing else. You don’t feel the wind. You are the wind.

6 people, 6 aerosolar pilots. Floating time of 1h 19 min. On air, with air, because of air.

Through the presence of an unbiased witness, Aerocene achieved a new, fully certified record for a completely solar human flight on 27 of October 2018.

On the same grounds as the first fuel-powered balloon flight 235 years earlier, we took off. This time, it wasn’t at the court of Versailles, in front of the king and queen of a monarchy soon to be ended by a revolutionary approach, dismantling the Ancien Régime. This time, it was because of a different régime, lead by the true Sun king, our life-giving star. A new time is born, enabling a new approach to sovereignty and power to grow.

With aerosolar flights, Aerocene community measures depths, looking at the possibilities of the atmosphere through the atmosphere itself. In conjunction with the DIT (do it together) spirit we thrive through collective action. We are constantly asking ourselves and the world around us more questions: how would breathing feel in a post fossil fuel economy, and what is our response-ability? How do we challenge geopolitical borders in an age of climate inequality? How can we start looking at things from another’s point of view, following a new, different rhythm of the planet?

Today Aerocene community took the field and dove into the ocean of air, embodying the aerosolar, re-thought and reflected deeper into the opportunities of a new reign. Bottom-up uprising will guide us, and hopefully lead us, the humanity and all life forms to re-connect to the elemental energy of the Sun.


Without the enthusiasm, support and contribution from the community, all this would never have been made possible. Thanks to all for coming.

Helenesee moves on air – Free Flight

Free Flight

Archimedes & Aerides

Saturday August 4

What would breathing feel like in a post fossil fuel epoch, and what is our response-ability?

How to challenge geopolitical borders in an age of climate inequality?

Last Saturday, August 4 in 2018, the Aerocene community reunited for two seperate free flights. First was an atmospheric rehearsal for the most sustainable and longest Aerocene Free Flight and for the first emissions-free around-the-world flight. After that, an aerosolar sculpture free flight that would be released from a kayak on the lake Helenesee.

Meeting at 8 am at Helenesee by the Wassersportzentrum, we started our journey towards decolonisation of the air from particulate matter.

Once upon a time, millenia ago, people began dreaming about taking flight. The philosophers and thinkers who first thought, wrote and spread the word about this possibility had no notion of fuel. However, once the Montgolfier brothers took flight, things took a turn for the unsustainable. The brothers, and the people following them, were to bare the label aeronaut, which describes someone who operates or travels in an airship or balloon. It’s a word connoting mythicism, forwardness and conquering the improbable, which turned out not to rather conceivable after all.

Over the last 50 years,  another generation of Aeronauts have resurfaced. Having a similar flare for exploring the improbable but slightly different intention, they revisit the great minds of the past which have been overlooked after the fossil fuel apocalypse. From this, they venture onwards, towards for brighter futures for all.

Like aeronauts uses s, futures do the same. Devoted people, from diverse backgrounds, in diverse communities, with diverse positive intentions, have gathered over the last decades to pave the way for us to quite literally, track them. In the case of the Aerocene community, the word aeronaut takes on another form. “Aero”, a short, clean word refers to the aerial, a symbol of the essence of our activities, communicating a message of simplicity in a world of tumultuous geopolitical relations, reminding us that the air belongs to everyone and should not depend on any type of sovereignty: free from borders, free from fossil fuels. “Naut”, also short for nautical, is a significant and perhaps accidental recognition of the similarity of floating in fluids, whether gaseous air or liquid water. The neologism highlights togetherness, as with the aeronauts of Aerocene, just like liquids and gases conjoin under the term fluids, our community effort synthesises under Aerocene.

The 4th of August was special; the Aerocene community united once again for an unforgettable free flight journey. Community commitment and fellowship, with each other as individuals, as well as with the earth, seemed to be the key ingredients bringing them together, this time with an added accomplishment: many had been camping on site prior to the morning of the free flight. After necessary preparations, tranquility took over the campers as they reconnected with the world around them and experienced the harmonic consonance of the earth. When crashing into sun-heated water, and peering upwards, surrounded by the power of the sun after it disappeared behind the horizon, we floated peacefully, perhaps unaware of the depth of meaning that this swim had for the upcoming flight.

Although our Aerocene journey had begun the previous evening, waking up with the sun and slowly recognising our surroundings, empirically and metaphysically, was a key moment in this free flight. Rising up, hopping down from a flying tent that was innocently strapped between trees, or rising up and out of an earthbound tent, revealed to us the peaceful surroundings. In that moment we couldn’t have felt the sun’s intensity stronger. Waking up differently than we were used to, out of the usual routine, gathering with the community and floating with Aerocene, we were still unaware of the two flights that were about to happen with our two sculptures: Aerides and Archimedes.

The Archimedean principle states that the upward buoyant force that is being exerted on a body and immersed in fluid, whether partially or wholly, is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces. It acts in the upwards direction at the centre of mass of the displaced fluid. This principle applies to any body, including aerosolar sculptures, which tap into an unlimited source of energy, the Sun. The sculpture is designed to absorb and preserve as much infrared radiation as possible, and when the warm air inside the balloon becomes lighter than the ambient air, the resultant force is a vertical upwards force: the aerostatics force or ‘lift’. In this way, our Archimedes represents the dawn of aeronautics as well as the later ascent of the aerosolar many years later, as originating from the clean mathematical principle stated by him.

As aerosolar flights are weather dependent, needing sun and minimal wind to lift, and we were lucky to experience a warm and sunny day. While the sun was shining, returning to the water for a swim was a great option to cool our fragile bodies from the heat of the sun, the very source that lifts the Aerocene sculpture, allowing it to float in the air as we do beneath it in the water. Gently on the clear waters of the lake, we float with Aerocene, all heated by the sun. Due to the partially reflective material of the Aerocene sculpture, the air inside an envelope will slowly heat up until the inner air density is low enough to provide sufficient lift to overcome gravity and make the envelope rise. Once in the air, an untethered Sculpture can easily rise up to the stratosphere in a couple of hours. Filled only with air, lifted only by the sun and the infrared radiation from the surface of the earth, carried only by the wind, floating onwards without the use of fossil fuels, is a recent development of today’s aeronauts. Aeronautics has required patience, and this is no exception. Inflating the sculpture Archimedes was done by running in order to fill it with air, and waiting for it to begin to rise before guiding it to the water, from which it was released using a kayak. Despite light cloud cover at this time, the radiation reflecting off from the glistening water and the heat of the sun above allowed it to lift into the air smoothly.

In accordance to the patience required in these types of events, the importance of spending time with each other and getting to know one another cannot be overstated. We had plenty of time to do so on this day. After some intermission, which can always be expected with aerosolar launches, the launch team and the rest of the community were preparing for the first-ever free flight rehearsal launch. Aerides, a tetra shaped balloon, accompanied by a small ensemble of 6 sbs-13s, was aiming to reach a flight level of 13000 meters. Followed by stations worldwide in collaboration with the APRS community, the flight was a test of overnight long distance flight constantly capturing temperature data from inside and outside of the aerosolar sculpture. If it would travel across the globe, it would be the first time with a camera. Attached to the balloon, there was a solar cell and a tracker, Pecan Pico 10-B, built by Aerocene community member and radioamateur Sven, with help from Bob in Australia, their collaboration a global journey itself. Since Aerocene technology is open source, everybody has access to it, and to track, modify and to change, and is invited to do so.

The concept behind the flight was to photograph and analyse the behaviour of the solar balloon and its day-and-night-cycle, in which the power of the sun is ever present but also everchanging. The aim is to be able to complete an aerosolar emissions free around the world free flight in the foreseeable future. Just like we feel the heat of the sun within the water, as we float overtop, the sculpture also feels the heat of the sun through the membrane. Whether directly during the day, or indirectly throughout the night, it keeps itself afloat in this way.

The blazing hot day made us losing track of time and space as we became caught in the pulse of the relationship between the sun, earth and ourselves. Ever present and oscillating, the current of energy from the sun translated into a stream of consciousness. During the moments of the inbetween, when the pendulum briefly pauses at each end, at dusk and dawn, we were allowed to physically feel the constant oscillation of energy. We cool down at dusk and warm up at dawn, just like the aerosolar sculptures. Embodying us in the air, it was an eternal pendulum to which we all seemed to feel attached to. Together with our reflections during this event, an imaginative space opened. It was both physical and metaphysical, and became a space to pause and to reflect, reclaiming the space between us, the cosmos and the atmosphere.

In many ways, we devise new modes of sensitivity and reactivate a common imaginary towards achieving an ethical collaboration with the environment. We find ourselves usually in the every day, but this weekend was a heightened event in all of our lives. With the rehearsal of an aerosolar around the world flight, we pictured a new infrastructure, challenging and redefining an international right to mobility. Along with our community efforts, we re-assessed our connection to the earth, symbolising the opposition to the extractive approach developed by humans towards this planet. We call to re-examine the possibility of freedom of movement in the air above us.. In this way, as aeronauts of an  imaginative nature, we call for a new interplanetary ecology which reconnects elemental sources of energy of the sun and planets to break the boundaries of the sublunary. We can experience the dawn of this when floating with Aerocene, acquainting ourselves with the power of the sun and starting our journey towards the decolonisation of the air.

In this way amongst others, we devise new modes of sensitivity and reactivate a common imaginary towards achieving an ethical collaboration with the environment we find ourselves in every day, during this weekend a heightened presence in our lives. The rehearsal of an aerosolar around-the-world flight symbolises a new infrastructure which redefines an international right to mobility, and along with our community to reassess our connection to the earth, we hereby oppose the extractive approach developed by people towards the planet we inhabit. Instead, we call to re-examine the possibility of freedom of movement between countries, along with a reconnection between us and the elemental sources of energy, the sun and the planets. The dawn of this, the start of a new interplanetary ecology of interconnection between us all and the environment, can be sensed in moments like these, when we float with aerocene and re-acquaint ourselves with the power of the sun, beginning our journey towards the decolonisation of the air.

We re-acquaint ourselves with the power of the sun and we re-activate a common imaginary towards achieving an ethical collaboration with the environment. We find ourselves in every day, during this weekend a heightened physical presence in our lives. Within this, along with the rehearsal of an aerosolar around-the-world flight, we symbolise an imaginary new infrastructure which leaves behind the extractive approach people have adopted towards the earth, and re-assesses our connection to the earth and re-examines the possibility of free movement across the world as we move towards an interconnection between us and the elemental sources of energy, the sun and the planets, a new interplanetary ecology of practise in terms of oscillating harmony.

Rising in Schönfelde: a Free Flight story

New story: Free Flight at Schönfelde

by Anna Guðný Jónsdóttir Þór

Last Saturday, 9th of June 2018, two Aerocene sculptures were released in a free flight and later kindly tracked, found and retrieved by Polish radio-amateurs from Radiosondy Polska. At 9 am, over 40 Aerocene community members joined together to celebrate the launch of the book ‘Aerocene’. This was no regular book launch, since as a symbol of the continuous, soaring journey of Aerocene, a copy was attached to the sculpture Cyanophyta to be carried by easterly winds and delivering our message to the world, filled only with air, lifted only by the sun, carried only by the wind.

Throughout the pleasantly sunny morning, the Aerocene community guided Aerocene explorers through the air, which are tethered flight starter kits enclosed in a portable back-pack, created to introduce you to atmospheric expeditions in a way that allows you to sense the environment encircling you in a new fashion. Observing the sculptures ascending and descending, fluctuating as guided by the wind, induced an entirely original aura of tranquility over many of us. Sincerely, witnessing and observing the soft and yielding material of Aerocene sculptures symbolizes nothing short of a magnificent conjunction of technology, art and sustainability, an interest many of the community members share with eachother. This was expressed in a beautiful way as community members such as architectural enthusiast Matthias Böttger took initiative to interact with the explorers. Everyone guided and observed the explorers as they decorated our surroundings with aerial signatures, marking our collective agreement to open the Air of Commons Convention – the Aerosolar Transnational Agreement declaring our matter of concern: de-carbonization of the air! As a newly joined Aerocene community member, this was an experience I would surely never forget!

In the midst of these explorers, Cyanophyta was released, carrying a copy of the newly released ‘Aerocene’ and accompanied by another ascending sculpture, which rose together and were swept away, purely rising by the energy of the sun and travelling by the power of the wind. Cyanophyta´s nomenclature originates from organisms that initially changed the composition of Earth´s life forms by producing and releasing oxygen, and now it was time for our soaring sculpture to challenge their legacy by strengthening our agreement of decarbonizing the air. Crossing borders into the new epoch Aerocene, Cyanophyta carried our collective signature of our commitment to a sustainable future for all. The sculptures were released around 10 am and floated in ensemble as we observed the way they intertwined with surprise and delight. Just as the two sculptures soared together, bound in a similar path through the force of the wind, we remained together, bound by the message being delivered by Cyanophyta: free from borders, free from fossil fuels.

After the release of the sculptures, there was an interesting communal attentiveness to the location of the sculptures in the sky before they surpassed our field of view. During this time, people began to find increasingly creative ways to describe the position of the sculptures in the air to one another. Creativity and collaboration is an important aspect of Aerocene which is also shared with members of the community such as Thomas Heidtmann, a media artist from SPARTH. As interesting and inspiring individuals, all members of the community mingled, enthusiastic about the developments being made for the journey of Aerocene, as we kept an eye on the sculptures slowly disappearing behind effervescent clouds.

While we settled and assisted each other to find them in the sky, the tracking systems attached to the sculptures were recording both their position and temperature, such that with a link and a call sign they could be tracked on your phone and other devices. So, even when the sculptures disappeared beyond, you could still observe them. Another crucial part of the tracking system was the recording of particulate matter enveloping the sculptures. Particulate matter is fine dust in the micrometer range, a form of air pollution being tracked on the ground in many areas of the earth. With this free flight, Aerocene has lifted these measurements into the air to observe the distribution of pollution above us, which can allow us to examine the air conditions in a significant way.

Along with the amazing engagement of the people present at the launch, we were gifted the efforts of new friends of Aerocene across the border in Poland. Some amazing people who took the task upon themselves to track, find and retrieve the sculptures upon landing. As community members celebrated, chatted and enjoyed each other’s company in the fields outside of Berlin, watching the sculptures take flight and disappear beyond the horizon, efforts were already being made to find the sculptures over in Poland. Only hours after the launch, messages began to arrive about the search from people that were excited to join the effort. The first sculpture was found on the same day, while the one carrying the book was searched for over the weekend and found on Monday the following week. The amount of time and energy invested into the recovery by the community members across the border and their enthusiasm to do so is an extraordinary sign of the growing network of the community. So whether squinting to try to find the sculptures above, looking on a screen to track the sculptures via satellite, chasing the sculptures, or all of the above, our amazing Aerocene community made the launch as spectacular and uplifting as one could have hoped. And as a growing community of people, by exploring buoyancy using the natural resources that continuously dance around us, – the sun, the air, and the wind – we collectively join their dance in a venture to grow more attune to the natural rhythm of the planet.







Fair winds!

Thanks to:

Alice Lamperti, Anna Drewes, Aurelien Calpas, Aysegul Seyhan, Banu Çiçek Tülü, Camilla Berggren Lundell, Claudia Melendez, Dario Iannone, Dario J Lagana, Denis Maksimov, Devrim Yasar, Erik Vogler, Esther Schipper, Gwilym Faulkner, Hannah Turner, Ilka Tödt, Joshua Depaiva, Kimberly Bradley, Leopold Schulenburg, Mariia Dubrovska, Martina Pelacchi, Matthias Böttger, Moonsung Cho, Roland Mühlethaler, Roxanne Mackie, Sara Ferrer, Sophie Rzepecky, Sven Steudte, Thomas Heidtmann, Timo Tuominen,Yelta Köm, Zaida Violan

Including all participants!

Free Flight Schönefeld 22 JUL 2017

 

Helianthus Free Flight

Schönfelde,  Germany

22.07.2017

travel the world without wind,                    by becoming the wind.

Launch place : Schönfelde.
Date: 22 July
Time: From 7am on 
Sunrise Time: 5:08 Am Sunset Time: 9:12 Pm
Weather: Partially cloudy, 17-27º Main Wind Direction: East Average Wind Speed: 10 Km/h
Field Condition: OkField Options: OkPermissions: Ok

Become lighter than air. That´s our dream, the utopia we are trying to unfold,

In a world made of boundaries, Aerocene  is working toward a demilitarization and decolonization of the sky, to build a community that will take to the air in the spirit of a new era, and raise a new awareness of the air we all breath. This is another attempt to float within the natural rhythms of the Earth and its atmosphere, by observing the ocean above us.

 

In the middle of a kindly warm German summer, six experimental solar balloons have been tested by representatives of the Aerocene community and the team.

The weather was perfect for the use of another instrument: the inflating bicycle, whose only power source is directly applied human effort. A fan attached to the back wheel filled up the balloons with air, without using any electricity, and it gave us the possibility to watch the balloons becoming bigger and bigger very quickly.

Helianthus and the Explorer Quartet hovered above the grass field for a while, dancing among people, tuning with the Earth beat. After a while however, it was time for the spheres to rest, and the team followed.

“Being balloon is to fly, certainly, but it is more so to float without much haste, perhaps just a little buoyant, maybe even just hovering above the ground, imperceptibly”. 

Peter Adey

Next float up was the black Aerocene Helianthus Explorers duo, chosen to be our free travelers for the day. Equipped with cameras, GPS trackers and an infrasound recorder, they surfed the air above Schönfelde, crossing the ceiling of the clouds and detecting the symphony played by the living particles in the air.

Aerocene Helianthus Explorers traveled 480 km distance, floating in the skies for over 7 hours, reaching 15353 m altitude, all without any carbon, fossil fuels, helium, hydrogen, burners, or engines – using only air currents and the heat of the sun.

Aerocene Helianthus Flight has been one of the longest flight in the history of Aerocene experiments. It has been chased for two days and retrieved by our experts the night of 24.07.2017 in Łączno, Poland. For the team, it was a beautiful surprise to discover that the balloons were already been folded and kept safe by an extraordinary kind family from the village, which realized the importance of the flying sculptures and helped them out.

 

“Aerocene is a project about friendship, about the relationship between air, universe, humans, sun, animals, plants, planets. It is a project showing how shared enthusiasm becomes the common ground to shared dreams. Where time becomes different, where energy and inspiration are endless resources.

I can only hope that this family will grow even bigger.”

Tomás Saraceno