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In the economic revitalization plan outlines on the BIG on Bloor website, King noted that there is no mention of a plan to deal with the impending gentrification of the area, but rather the acknowledgement of its presence and possible effects.  From this King came to undersand that there is no practical way to prevent this process of gentrification from happening.  As an artist participating in the festival (whether commenting or not on this impending gentrification), by simply participating, King feels he is contributing to this change. In this, he project simply points out the process of consumerism on this commercial strip. Regardless of the businesses' clientele, ones participation in this 'community' is through the process of consumption. Had this event taken place in a park, the concept for the festival would be dramatically altered.
 
Childhood is often perceived as a time of innocence, which may be, but this innocence often manifests itself in insensitivity toward others. At a development stage where the acceptance of ones peers is important, children often use their parents' economic situation as an indication of status. As a child, King remembers many times hearing about something being 'ghetto' or from 'Bi-way'. If a child doesn't have the right name brand written on his shoe, he can be excluded and teased for not being with the trends. Often these brand name products, much like gentrified neighborhoods, are result of hype and over-inflated (pun intended) pricing to provide an opportunity for the projection of wealth.  

Balloons are a symbol of childhood fun and innocence. In reality, once acquired, balloons are basically functionless, often discarded in the corner or a room or popped on the ground after returning home. They don't serve much of a purpose for play or have any other utilitarian function. Much like childhood, they are used to signify an event that was temporary and fun. While King’s balloons are a part of the festival, they are a signifier of those who 'have' and those who 'have not'.  Much like an advertisement for a bank, children will not see this reading, but adults will.

Commercial businesses often use balloons to attract people’s attention for promotions such as sales or grand openings. Contemporary marketing has taken to integrating products into the lives of its target market by staging surreal spectacles in the public forum. King’s child replica will hang from a large number of balloons floating 50 feet above the balloon stand. This will in part be contributing to the spectacle of the event, but also providing a visual narrative and conversation piece for all participants at the festival to interact with. This will be a way of promoting his balloon stand so as to sell more balloons. The floating child could also be taken metaphorically as the result of excessive consumption, or the potential dangers of revitalization. By selling his art, King is providing a concept and a material good at a common price. In North America, dollar stores provide consumers with products at what is considered the lowest price possible. The dollar is also the financial unit upon which global economic trade is based.
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Balloon Room Room : Matt King
DIG IN’ s CultureWorks : The BIG on Bloor Festival
Saturday 20 June 2009  1pm to 6pm


Balloons are an iconic element for an event. They are large, colourful, have a non-threatening shape with little to no weight or danger to them. Balloons are also often associated with childhood and innocence. When King sees balloons at events however, they are usually covered in advertisements for banks, or other businesses.  For the Bloor Improvement Group's street festival, he decided to create a balloon stand where he will sell balloons for one dollar.  These balloons will have a '$1' written on them with a black marker. Much like other balloons, these will be used to advertise, but not for a product. King’s balloons advertise ones ability to spend ones money on useless hunks of gas and plastic.  Above this balloon stand will be a replica of a small child hanging from a seemingly runaway pile of helium balloons. This will be used as a promotional spectacle as well as a metaphorical statement about excess.