The New Millennium Paper Airplane Contest and corresponding book by Klara Hobza is inspired by a historic paper airplane contest that took place in 1967 at the Great Hall in what is now the New York Hall of Science. Built by Wallace K. Harrison to display rockets in the 1964 World's Fair, the Great Hall is a secular cathedral of concrete and colored glass; for Hobza's one-day event, this unique location harbored aircraft of a different scale...
The competition was open to the public, and participants were invited to fly their planes in a number of judging categories, including:
1. Distance flown (measured in a straight line from start point to finish point)
2. Duration aloft (measured from time released to time it lands on any surface)
3. Beauty (subjective measurement based on judges' assessment of both the plane's physical qualities and the beauty of the flight itself; this category does not depend on distance flown or duration aloft)
4. Spectacular Failure (subjective measurement based on the audience's assessment of both the plane's physical qualities and the most spectacular crashes)
5. Children's division (competition for participants under ages 13)
6. Surprise category (folding your plane out of unexpected paper materials, provided on the spot)
The success of the competition and its response beyond the art world was overwhelming: About 350 people from across the world participated. The jury consisted of an inventor, an architect, a science teacher and the director of the New York Hall of Science. A former rodeo-rider commented the event from an elevated platform. The fact that a Boeing-engineer from Virginia won the „Distance“ category was picked up by Associated Press and then distributed via the mainstream news channels throughout the USA. The New York Times reported twice about the New Millennium Paper Airplane Contest, and so did Popular Mechanics and Scientific American (both in English and in Chinese), and dozens other international blogs, among them wired.com, and later the New York Magazine.
Photos by Amy Eliott (1,3,4) and Jeff Parrott (2)