It could be argued that John and Yoko made a form of landscape art in Apotheosis (1970), their seventeen minute experimental film of the view from an ascending balloon. It was shot in December 1969, on a snowy day in Lavenham, Suffolk. At the beginning you hear the balloon being inflated and see John and Yoko in hooded outfits. It then becomes clear that the camera is mounted in the balloon, which rises out of the market place until you can see white fields and black trees that could have come from a Bruegel painting. This landscape gets progressively whiter and more indistinct until it eventually disappears. After several minutes, the balloon emerges above the clouds which, in the words of Jonas Mekas, 'opened up like a huge poem, you could see the tops of the clouds, all beautifully enveloped by sun, stretching into infinity.'
Back in 2010, The East Anglian Daily Times published an article about the film and interviewed people who were there that day, such as Roger Deacon, manager of a local building firm, who remembers helping to lift the famous couple out of their balloon.
'John and Yoko didn’t take off on the flight, climbing out of the basket after the photographs to oversee the launch – to shouts of “chicken!” from the gathered crowd – while their collaborator and cameraman, Nic Knowland (himself a Suffolk man, originally from Debenham), ensured the shoot was carried out to their requirements.'In his essay 'Walking on thin Ice: The Films of Yoko Ono', Daryl Chin compares Apotheosis to the contemporary work of Michael Snow (La Région Centrale, Snow's celebrated three-hour film of an uninhabited mountainous landscape, made with a robotic camera, was shot in September 1970). However, The East Anglian Daily Times was not impressed by Apotheosis.
'The best thing you could say about it is that it left the people of Lavenham - and Yoko - with some bizarre and brilliant memories (“We always have a laugh about it,” says Roger Deacon. “Not many people can say they’ve had their hands around Yoko Ono!”)
Other than that, it was a lot of hot air.'