Flying Boat // stephen connolly / layla curtis

Geohumanities Creative Commission 2019-2020

First Post: Autumn 2019

The Flying Boat project began as a provocation; it imagined a retro-future, a world to come severely afflicted by climate change and fuel scarcity, and reverting to past modes of mobility. Blog # 1 briefly illustrates the rationale for the retro-future proposition, beginning with a geographical illustration of global hyper connectivity prior to 2020, [1] and celebrated as postmodern mobility and mutability. [2] Recent scholarship has identified the enablement of mobility within the politics of carbon extraction in the Arabian peninsula, Mesopotamia and Persia from compliant regimes and the vestiges of colonial relationships in the post-war period. [3]

Adopting the descriptive paradigm of the thinker Franco Beradi, such a look at mobility between the cities is emblematic of "connectivity"; ignoring "sensitivity" to the entrainment of material, labour and differentials of power. [4] Some representations of air travel have recorded the material basis of air travel. <1>Air Outpost (1937) for example, explores the political and material demands and constraints of an airport now known as the emirate of Sharjah on the Persian Gulf.[5] This short piece offers a glimpse into these images on film, and offers an alternative, historical rendering of the progress of air travel including an indication of scale or volume of movement.

[1] › blog › flight-routes ;
[2] Bauman, Zygmunt. Liquid Modernity. 1st edition. Cambridge, UK : Malden, MA: Polity, 2000.
[3] The grounding of western democracies in fossil fuel extraction more critically analysed in Mitchell, Timothy. Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. London: Verso, 2013.
[4] S Beradi, Franco. After the Future. Oakland, Calif. Edinburgh: AK Press, 2011.
[5] Keene, Ralph, and John Taylor. Air Outpost 1937.