In October 2014 and February 2016 I acquired two very large ‘Solari boards’ (aka ‘split-flap’ information displays) from the soon-to-be demolished Montréal-Mirabel International Airport passenger terminal (IATA code YMX), courtesy of Aéroports de Montréal. As part of the ongoing Montreal Signs Project at Concordia University, the signs will soon become operational again, using one or more microcontrollers (eg Arduinos).
I will be working with a Québecois/e poet or electronic literature artist to develop and perform a new work conceived specifically for the displays. The art installation will explore issues relating to migration, modernity, time, mass transit, and ‘liminality’, ie airport departure gates as ‘edge’ spaces that are neither ‘here’ nor ‘there’. By cueing up coded, allusive phrases, flight codes, and times, and having them run cyclically, the installation will thereby put users (‘travelers’) in direct ‘conversation’ with a residual sign technology that is generally associated with anonymous, hidden control centres. The signs will also be Internet-enabled, so we can text or Tweet to the displays remotely – thereby teasing apart the relationships between anonymity, authority, and authorship, via social media.