Galerie Christian Ehrentraut, 2014
A flight departure board displaying information for departures at all international airports as they happen.
"A vertically mounted large scale LCD screen hangs on the wall of the gallery. In the form of a flight departure board, it displays information about all flights taking off from all international airports in the world, in real time. The departure time (in UTC), city of origin, code number and destination of each flight are placed in a row that moves up as a new flight is added to the list. Every five seconds, two or three rows disappear at the top of the screen as the list moves up. Several hundred people have switched off their electronic devices for take off. Thousands of others are already flying. Departure of All is an artwork by Martin John Callanan that continues the artist’s exploration of the systems that shape our daily lives. The relatively simple act of catching a flight involves the coordinated work of hundreds of people in a complex system that requires the performance of specific procedures, which include the passenger herself. This dynamic is observed on a planetary scale and reduced to the succinct information displayed on the screen. While the origin and destination cities speak of a network of connections that reaches almost every corner of the world, the fast-paced progression of the list illustrates the excesses of a society characterized by dispersion and speed. The hypermodern society described by Gilles Lipovetsky, in which all limits are surpassed by moving faster and further away, is aptly represented by this real time, worldwide departure board. Air travel reduces the world to a few nodal points, and even eliminates the notion of travel: according to Paul Virilio, when we travel we are going nowhere, rather abandoning ourselves to “the void of speed”. He describes the airport as “nothing but a projector, a site of accelerated ejection” in which the individual is just a simple particle, and embarkation as “nothing but a «one-way ticket»”. In this sense, the flight information board can be read as a symbol of the real meaning of travel, as an endless succession of departures, continuously happening in a void. At some point, origins and destinations seem to matter less, and it is the uninterrupted procession of flights that gains relevance, not a list anymore but a flow, an overwhelming flow of data."
– Pau Waelder