Airigamist Larry Moss Takes On Darpa Challenge; Promises Giant Flying Balloon Cupcake For All If He Wins

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Internationally-renowned "airigamist" Larry Moss will compete in this weekend's DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Network Challenge, marking the 40th anniversary of the Internet, by attempting to locate 10 weather balloons using the Internet. If he wins, Moss will use the Internet to involve millions in the creation and flight of a giant cupcake made out of balloons.

Internationally-renowned "airigamist," Larry Moss, has taken up the challenge issued on October 29, 2009 from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to mark the 40th anniversary of the Internet. The DARPA Network Challenge will explore the roles that the Internet and social networking play in finding and reporting the exact locations of 10 stationary, red, weather balloons placed throughout the continental U.S. on Saturday, December 5. (For more details, visit: http://networkchallenge.darpa.mil/)

"Not only does this competition involve balloons on a grand scale, but it also involves the Internet on a grand scale, and both are my passions," explains the current holder of the Guinness Record for World's Largest Non-Round Balloon Sculpture (Belgium, 2000). "How could I ignore this challenge?"

Moss, who is known all over the world for his large-scale, public balloon art projects like Balloon Manor and Fantastic Flying Octopus, is also the 1991 founder of balloonhq.com, a website for balloon enthusiasts.

Moss has invited balloonhq.com's thousands of users to join him in winning the social media experiment, and is reaching out to the rest of the U.S. via http://www.airigami.com and http://www.findtheredballoons.com, as well as other social media including twitter: @findredballoons and @airigami.

The key to Moss's interest in this competition, though, is in his plans for the $40,000 prize. Since the challenge stipulates that the money be awarded to one person only, Moss believes that the most fair yet fun thing to do would be to invite the entire community to help inflate and assemble thousands of balloons into a giant sculpture – a huge, flying cupcake. (See video of a similar project: http://airigami.com/large-scale-projects/the-fantastic-flying-octopus/). Funds would cover the cost of building the sculpture and housing participating artists.

Moss, whose recent TedXRochester talk focused on building community through art (see that talk at: http://airigami.com/2009/11/tedx-talk-on-building-community/), is keenly interested in the positive effects of involving large numbers of people to work on the same creative project.

"Besides the hundreds who would help build it, thousands would see it fly in the sky, and perhaps millions more could view the whole process online with streaming web cams and YouTube videos via the Internet," says Moss. "This way, everyone would get a piece of the pie...I mean, cupcake."

Media, please note: Broadcast-quality video and high-resolution photographs are available, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities may be arranged.

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