Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Blimp Is Born

As some of you may know, I am a fan of the movie Blade Runner, and have written a number of pieces (articles, fanfiction, and lyrics) and contributed to fansites, (BladeZone, KippleZone, and the Off-world News) over the years. 

This month, I've been researching about the Blade Runner blimp. And in this article, I focus on the dirigible billboard––also referred to as the Blade Runner blimp, advertising blimp, Off-world blimp, mother-blimp, or simply, the blimp––from concept to construction. And I discuss its message and what it says about the portrayal of humanity in the dystopian vision of Blade Runner. And show how its influence was translated by the fans of this film through their art, words, and music.

"A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies! The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!"

The blimp is just one of the many things that come to mind when we think of Blade Runner. And, depending on which version of the film that we're familiar with, its message is open to speculation––but that's nothing new to the Blade Runner fandom.

The blimp represents corporate power and a capitalist commercial presence through its intrusive and inescapable adverts. And it also represents oppressive surveillance as witnessed by its spotlights as they probe into buildings and over streets and alleyways.

The blimp has been associated with the devil that comes to tempt and torment the poor souls of those left on Earth––or as angels descending into Hell to promise the chance to begin again in a new world, a chance of redemption in a place that may be considered Purgatory, in Dante's Divine Comedy.

It is futuristic, yet old; retrofitted like much of the technology and architecture in Blade Runner.

An alien life-form, programming our minds and contaminating our souls.

The promise of a new life––to begin again. Could there be such a paradise?

An advertisement for hope––for those who meet their stringent qualifications. Or an advertisement of despair––keeping those who don't qualify in their place.

However you care to interpret the blimp, I cannot imagine the dystopian world of Blade Runner without the blimp's looming presence.

A Blimp Is Born: From Concept to Screen to Fandom ~ The Blade Runner BlimpResearched, compiled, and edited by C.A. Chicoine