So, the summer is over, and we’ve got one pretty perfectly working Solari board! The light behind the gate number turns on and off, the letters flap smoothly, the missing flaps have been cut, screenprinted, and replaced, it’s got a new set of wiring, DIN connectors, and a brand-new blue circuit board inside. Mark Demers at Spikenzie Labs has also solved the issue we were having with variant letters appearing. In early testing, we ended up with some interesting versions with the command to display “SOLARI,” which appeared as “SOHAPG,” “SOJARI,” “SOHASE,” and soforth. The extra coding Mark has added to his sequence is an additional measure to catch any errors in letters that might have come out different than the command. Now, it appears correctly every time. We’re still playing around with the 24-hour clock cartridges—the mechanism is a bit sticky from several years of disuse—so stay tuned for an update on those. We’ll also be working on getting the second unit running smoothly, and a support structure for the two displays. Until then, HELLO WORLD.
Good afternoon, everyone. Please ensure that your tray tables are secure and your seats are in the upright position. As we taxi into the fall, Flight YMX is delighted to welcome on board artist and curator Cheryl Sim as our collaborator. Using our two Solari boards as a starting place, Sim will be exploring ideas of memory, diaspora, hope, displacement, and migration through the lens of Mirabel airport. Drawing on video archives, oral history, crowd control stanchions, immigration statistics, and histories of resistance, Sim will create a site-specific installation that will speak to the experience of being in between arrival and departure physically, emotionally, and psychologically. We look forward to working with her to develop and find a berth for this project in a Montreal gallery when we begin our descent into winter.
Bienvenue à bord, Cheryl Sim!
Cheryl Sim is a media artist, curator and musician. She began her professional life at Studio D of the NFB, which led her to the wild world of video art and her involvement with artist-run centers. Her artistic output in single-channel video and media installation has persistently dealt with questions of identity formation and relations of power. Musically, she explores the intersections of jazz and electronic music that are haunted by a cabaret spirit. Her work as curator at DHC/ART Foundation for contemporary art has been greatly informed by the artist-run center ethos as well as her work as an artist. She recently completed her PhD research-creation dissertation at UQÀM, “The Fitting Room: The Cheongsam and Canadian Women of Chinese Heritage in Installation.”
Flight YMX is a part of the Montreal Signs Project, an ongoing research project dedicated to the exploration of signage in the city of Montréal, through memories, archives, and rescued or donated signs. It is supported by a grant from the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC), Appui à la recherche-création, titled ‘Les enseignes de Montréal: Culture, technologie, patrimoine.’
Photo: Still, CBC News, Archives: Mirabel airport inauguration, 2 May 2014, “Montreal’s ill-fated airport of the future opens its runways in 1975,” http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2453941780.
The beginning of fall feels slighly like heading off on a trip, no? As the leaves start to change colour and the air gets crisper, the days feel like hope. We may have some jangly nerves from being on a plane for the first time, or gleefully setting off at a new school: there’s a bit of anticipation, a few bated breaths, the promise of adventure.
We’re excited to start the season off right with some press from Sarah Laskow over at Atlas Obscura. Her piece, “Artists are Salvaging Train Stations’ Analog Departure Boards,” talks about our project along with others who are repurposing Solari boards once they become decommissioned and removed from airports and train stations. Read about some of their split-flap afterlives here.