Helium: atomic number 2, a noble gas and the second lightest element. Helium takes its name from the Greek word ‘helios’ for sun, as it was in the sun’s corona that helium was first detected.
You probably knew already that helium made you sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks, but helium gas and balloons have been used for other experimental uses by creative thinkers- from Korean art to balloon travel.
Here’s our roundup of some cool stories that we’ve found involving helium balloons
Image credit: Buzzfeed
The man who wanted to go Up
The 2009 Disney box office smash Up is about a 78 year old balloon salesman who wants to fulfil his lifelong dream by tying thousands of balloons to his house and flying away to the South American wilderness.
A man named Jonathan Trappe must have seen the film one too many times, as in 2013 he attempted to recreate the film and travel across the Atlantic using nothing but helium balloons. Trappe was the first person to fly over the English Channel with helium cluster balloons and has also flown over the Alps so who better to attempt this mad feat, right?
Unfortunately for Jonathan, he had to stop his world record attempt after 12 hours, landing in Newfoundland, Canada. Technical difficulties forced Jonathan to seek help. We wish Jonathan the best of luck with his next helium adventure!
Image credit: Myeongbeom Kim
Eclectic Korean helium art
South Korean artist Myeongbeom Kim produces installations that aim to utilise nature in conjunction with manmade objects to help convey the meaning of growth. A floating helium balloon often becomes part of his striking installations.
Myeongbeom uses balloons delicately to question the boundaries of space and gravity. Seeing balloons in this context transforms them from something frivolous to a profound piece of art. The way they interact with wood and hair is mysterious and eerie.
Image credit: Dominic Robinson
Banksy reinvents the red balloon
The image of a woman or man holding a single red balloon has been extensively recycled in pop culture. It’s hard to track the origins of this imagery, but it seems to convey a certain feeling of delicate, fragile hope.
Bristol-based street artist Banksy created this touching piece of a little girl watching her love heart balloon float away from her. The way her small hand is reaching for the balloon, just floating out of reach, evokes the ways in which our dreams sometimes escape us.
Banksy is a master of recycling pop culture images and slightly inverting them, making us question the way we see the world.
Morgan Freeman- like you’ve never heard him before
Morgan Freeman is an American actor and film director, whose iconic deep voice is one of his most famous assets.
In 2014 Morgan appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show in which Jimmy prepared two balloons for them both to inhale before conducting the interview.
Seeing Morgan Freeman’s voice change is hilarious and also reminds us how important someone’s voice is to their character. Watch the clip to see what we mean!
Hopefully you’ve been inspired by our helium post. If so, why not share your own helium creations with us in the comment section below. We look forward to seeing what you have all been up to with the loveable gas that is helium.