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Photos: A view from the top (of a red balloon)

An artist's game uses weather balloons and surveillance cameras to re-create timeworn games for schoolchildren.
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1 of 7 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Kids line up

Kids from a day camp come and play with large red balloons provided by "99 Red Balloons: A game of flying perspectives" in San Jose, Calif. The game is a part of the Inter-Society of Electronic Arts (ISEA) ZeroOne 2006 art festival.

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2 of 7 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Cesar Chavez Plaza

San Jose's Cesar Chavez Plaza was covered with "maverick flying red messengers" on Aug. 9. The game was partly inspired by William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and is meant to be played outside. Because of the aerial views captured by the wireless camera, it is likened to a dream-like state.

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3 of 7 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Camera

The balloons used in artistic expression by Jenny Marketou are filled with helium, and suspended using a 30-foot-long tether.

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4 of 7 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Katie Salen

New York artist Katie Salen (on left) developed the rules for "99 Red Balloons." The game is ideally played with nine teams and 18 balloons. Each team is led by a "Spy Fairy" and "Aerial Navigator." The Aerial Navigator has a tech-free red balloon to attract the public, while the Spy Fairy has a balloon equipped with a wireless camera. The game's objective is to re-create the game of hide and seek and document what is improvised and found.

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5 of 7 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Tethered

About half of the balloons in the art display include a small, wireless camera. Jenny Marketou, the artist who developed the art project, has been interested in the development of surveillance for many years.

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6 of 7 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Program

On Net Surveillance Systems, Inc. provided the technology used to capture and archive images retrieved by the wireless cameras used on the red balloons. They can get feeds from up to four cameras at one time, though Marketou claims to have had a more efficient experience with analog rather than wireless systems.

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7 of 7 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Birds-eye view

Both Jenny Marketou and Karen Salen claim to have seen some really interesting images from so high in the sky. Marketou, while interviewed, commented on the response people have when seeing themselves from the birds-eye view angle. When shown, most captured on aerial video are surprised since they have never seen themselves from that perspective.

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