On January 20, 2019, Crystal Bridges partnered with artist Robert Pruitt to send a sculpture into space via weather balloon to celebrate the Men of Steel, Women of Wonder exhibition. Families gathered around Buckyball sipping hot cocoa on the brisk Sunday morning. As the balloon ascended into the sky, Pruitt and his team spoke to the crowd about the artwork returning home and sent the spaceman off with well wishes for a safe journey. The whole event was documented on Crystal Bridges’ Instagram account.
What we didn’t know at the time was that another space fellow was present among the crowd…
Later that day, Crystal Bridges assistant curator Alejo Benedetti and director of experimentation Shane Richey tracked the balloon to the Ozark National Forest and fished the landed spacecraft and spaceman safely out of a tree. However, when they played the recorder back, they heard weird frequencies that couldn’t be explained. The video also went dark a few minutes after the balloon lifted off.
That next week, the Crystal Bridges team noticed something strange in the Instastory of the event. As the balloon was rising up, an orb appeared out of the right-hand corner of the screen. It ascended with the balloon and appeared to be dancing around it, almost as if to welcome it home.
Crystal Bridges presented the video, as well as the recordings, to astrophysicist Dr. Elle O’Eloel. She determined that the evidence signified that there was an unidentified flying object present at the event.
“Solar flares and camera flares have a whiter glow, whereas the orb in this video appears to be a turquoise color,” said Dr. O’Eloel. “The frequency feedback from the recorder also indicates that something was interfering with the signal. Airplanes and other aircraft were too far away from the balloon during its journey and would not have made sounds like this.”
Witnesses at the event reported hearing strange noises that sounded like frequency signals coming from Buckyball, similar to reports from Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) reports on record in the area. “It’s possible that the UFO used Buckyball as an amplifier to emit signals back to a home base or to try and make contact with the artwork,” said Dr. O’Eloel.
Rumors have circulated as to how the UFO knew about the event and why it was trying to make contact with the artwork. Some have speculated that the UFO was attracted to the music that was playing on the balloon. Others believe it had something to do with the contents of the artwork’s suitcase. The suitcase contained a handful of dirt that was taken from the grave of American jazz composer Sun Ra (known for his cosmic philosophy) by Pruitt when he visited the site last year.
The artwork is on view in the Reflection Space at the end of Men of Steel, Women of Wonder until April 22 if museum visitors would like to analyze it for themselves.
Whether the UFO is a vacationing family from another world or an alien rescue pod leading its fellow spacemen back home, we’d like to remind them that Crystal Bridges is a place where all are welcome and to please come back and visit again whenever you’d like.
April Fools! While we did send an artwork to space, there was no UFO present at the event.