Cloudy With a Chance of Cupcakes: Airigamist Larry Moss adds Flying Balloon Cupcake Challenge to DARPA Challenge

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Internationally-renowned "airigamist" Larry Moss will compete in Saturday's DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Network Challenge by attempting to be the first to find ten, red weather balloons scattered across the U.S. Moss has vowed to create a giant flying cupcake made out of balloons if he wins, and has just added his own Flying Cupcake Challenge involving fellow U.S. balloon artists.

Internationally-renowned "airigamist," Larry Moss, has added his own competition to 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/)

Moss's Flying Cupcake Challenge will echo those aims but with an artistic and – let's face it – somewhat silly take on balloons (his chosen medium): Moss and nine fellow balloon artists across the U.S. will create and launch flying cupcake balloon sculptures on Saturday, and people finding these can win prizes by reporting sightings and submitting photos at http://www.findtheredballoons.com or http://www.airigami.com/darpa-challenge/. Of course, Moss is also hoping that people finding the DARPA balloons will also contact the sites!

"It's a 'logical' extension of my plans to use the $40,000 prize to build a giant flying cupcake balloon sculpture," explains Moss, who is known all over the world for his large-scale, community balloon art projects like Balloon Manor and Fantastic Flying Octopus. "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 – that way, everyone would get a piece of the pie...I mean, cupcake."

Moss is the current holder of the Guinness Record for World's Largest Non-Round Balloon Sculpture (Belgium, 2000), and is also the 1991 founder of balloonhq.com, a very popular website for balloon enthusiasts. The combination of balloons and the Internet was too much for Moss to ignore.

"We have been called the 'naive and fluffy' team (UK's The Register), and I think the Flying Cupcake Challenge reinforces that," says Moss, who is keenly interested in building community through art (see his TedX Rochester talk: http://airigami.com/2009/11/tedx-talk-on-building-community/). "Also, while people are out there searching for the DARPA balloons, they'll probably want a snack."

Artists involved in the Flying Cupcake Challenge are (locations for media info only, please): Larry Moss (Rochester, NY), Troy Apprill (St. Louis, MO), Todd Neufeld (Brooklyn, NY), Patty Sorell (Peabody, MA), Connie Iden-Monds (Nashville, TN), Brian Potvin (Los Angeles, CA), Wynn Bell (Portland, OR), Brian Asman (San Francisco, CA), Smarty Pants (Chicago, IL) and Cathy Adams (Yellville, AR).

All of these artists have been involved in one or more of Moss's large-scale projects in the past, and would most likely take part in creating the giant flying cupcake, along with hundreds of community volunteers. (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.

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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Sally Cohen
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