In 2014 and 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). As part of the ongoing Montreal Signs Project at Concordia University, the signs will become operational again, using one or more microcontrollers (eg Arduinos).
A Québecois/e poet or electronic literature artist will be commissioned 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 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 the artist can text or Tweet their work to the displays remotely – thereby teasing apart the relationships between anonymity, authority, and authorship, via social media.
A blog dedicated to this particular project can be found here.