The structure consists of a rooftop hangar, workshop and exhibition space where the project has been ongoing since June. Attached to the balloon have been a variety of payloads, from darknet routers to aerial cameras, and the results of its experiments have been shared publicly and online.
'The Right to Flight' takes its name from a treatise written by the Parisian photographer and balloonist Nadar in 1866. He proclaimed that mankind had a right, even a duty, to ascend to the heavens. His friend the novelist Victor Hugo urged him to "deliver mankind from the ancient, universal tyranny of gravity!" Nadar was the first person to take aerial photographs, and led the daring effort to break the Siege of Paris in 1870. But ballooning has also taken a darker turn: from the Zeppelin raids of the First World War, to the use of surveillance balloons in Iraq and Afghanistan, and along the US/Mexico border.
Using an aerostat designed for just that purpose, The Right to Flight project investigates ways to return the powers of surveillance and omniscience to the surveilled, and attempts to rediscover Nadar's utopias in the possibilities of contemporary technologies, while making its own claim on London's increasingly crowded skyline.