Return of the Helicopter Archipelago

Several months ago, BLDGBLOG featured a collaboration with Leah Beeferman, a Brooklyn-based artist and the graphic designer for Cabinet magazine. That project was the Helicopter Archipelago.

Blend 11The Archipelago was first published in Blend, however, a Dutch arts & culture magazine; and, having recently gotten hold of some PDFs from Blend‘s design team, I thought I’d post a quick glimpse of the page spread. (Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the text is in Dutch).
So, in case you missed it the first time round, the helicopter archipelago is an independent micronation of solar-powered helicopters, a flying island chain:

A kind of flying Hawaii, or anti-gravitational Micronesia, with tanned deck-hands leaping across aerodynamic tailfins to the soundtrack of ceaseless enginery, the helicopter archipelago would act as an escape hatch from traditional, nation-state sovereignty. Its government would be a parliament of pilots, led by experts in storms, whose access to climatological data – future weather, air speed, barometric pressure – would determine the nation’s route and direction.
Never leaving the international airspace of unregulated trade winds, the archipelago would be impossible to map. Atlas-makers and manufacturers of globes will simply include a pack of removable stickers, featuring small clouds of helicopters, to approximate the country’s location…


Once the archipelago is aloft for more than a century, the International Geological Society will declare it a flying continent, the world’s first airborne tectonic plate.
Some speculate that, two million years from now, the archipelago’s ruins will still hover in the sky: a ghostly blur across the north Atlantic horizon…

In any case, you can read more at the original post – whilst also stopping by Leah Beeferman’s website to see her other work, including drawn circuits and these assorted architectural explorations. In the latter link, don’t miss Leah’s “box factory” (2005) and “built” (2004).
Meanwhile, I have five or six more columns from Blend to republish here, so expect to see those in the next few weeks.

4 thoughts on “Return of the Helicopter Archipelago”

  1. What, are rafts of cruise ships, or semi-derelict cargo vessels, or fleets of lighter-than-air ships, or mysterious submarines, not cool enough any more? … Helicopters have the distinct problem that they’re kind of expensive and difficult to keep running.

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