RUHR.2010 GmbH

RUHR.2010 GmbH

May 20, 2010 10:32 ET

311 Giant Balloons to be Launched Over the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010: "Shaft Signs"-The Largest Work of Art in the World

ESSEN, GERMANY--(Marketwire - May 20, 2010) -

Editors Note: The photo associated with this release is included and available on the AP and EPA Archive.

The European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 is launching 311 large yellow helium balloons into the sky and so presents "Shaft Signs", the largest art installation in the world.

On Saturday, May 22, 2010, at noon sharp, all balloons will simultaneously be taken to a height of up to 80 meters. They will be visible for nine days over an area of 4,000 km2 and will mark the former mine shafts of the Ruhr area to demonstrate the transformation of the former coal and steel region of Ruhr into a metropolis of the future, the Ruhr Metropolis.

Situated in the center of Europe it forms, after London and Paris, the third largest urban agglomeration of the EU. This spectacular project is a reminder of the historical roots and dramatic changes that the old industrial areas have experienced. In the 19th century, the coal industry was the driving engine of the industrial revolution and for hundreds of thousands of people in Europe it was the focus of their work and life and the basis of their wealth.

In Gelsenkirchen, one of the 53 cities for which Essen representatively carries the title of European Capital of Culture this year, a yellow helium balloon was released in front of an old shaft tower as a foretaste of the spectacle to come on Saturday.

"As regards the Ruhr area, everyone has images of coal mines in mind– the "Shaft Signs" show what happened to them, namely a new life that springs in the Ruhr Metropolis," comments the managing director of RUHR.2010, Prof. Dr. Oliver Scheytt.

"Shaft Signs" is a social work of art, with the participation of more than 5,000 actors and 2,100 helpers. The project, which will last from May 22 to May 30, 2010, is a community initiative of the European Capital of Culture, RUHR.2010 and the citizens, companies and cities of the Ruhr Metropolis. On May 24 and 29, a further attraction will be added to the work of art: "Night Signs", the balloons will be illuminated from the inside between 10 PM and 1 AM, and will create a mystical scene around the full moon.

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