LUFTBALLETT—which sort of translates to AIR(DANCE)BALLET in English—began with world champion acrobatic hang glider Jon Gjerde’s dream of transmitting the powerful sound of flying and doing loops on his hang glider to an audience on the ground, while performing a dance in the air. Gjerde, in addition to being a hang glider acrobat, is also an ecofarmer and involved in the technological development of Airborne Wind Energy, a kind of wind energy that utilizes kites at high altitudes. In the future, Airborne Wind Energy might constitute a constructive element within the energy mix. Kites at high altitudes could generate more power than heavier constructions close to the ground.
Human induced climate change is a wicked problem. It asks for new thinking, new ideas and new solutions on pretty much all aspects of how we live our modern lives. Within the Western Norway University of Applied Science a lot of very different people—within various fields of research—are embarking on this great task of our times.
Throughout an interdisciplinary collaboration with artist Margrethe Kolstad Brekke, and the art-in-public-space-initiative KORO Vågestykke, Jon Gjerde`s idea of a hang glider dance developed to include a program of diverse activities. The hang glider dance, performed with fellow hang glider pilot Olav Martin Bråtveit, expanded into a project which would take place both in the airspace above and around the Kronstad campus of The Western Norway University of Applied Science and inside a small forest on the Campus site. Four future-oriented thematic pillars guided the activities: sustainability, energy, innovation and Utopia. Keeping the historic society-wide GREEN SHIFT in mind, alchemy—i.e. the origin of chemistry and the old art of turning something bad into something good—became the inspiration for transforming the small polluted forest, where remains of industrial waste are layered in the ground, into the main LUFTBALLETT arena. Throughout spring/summer/autumn 2016 more participants were included in the LUFTBALLETT project from students and staff at the college to local kindergartens and people from the Kronstad neighborhood.