STRUCK BY THE CATHEDRAL LIKE QUALITY OF FARNBOROUGH’S COLOSSAL 24FT WIND TUNNEL, ARTIST THOR MCINTYRE – BURNIE PLANS TO RE-ACTIVATE THESE SPACES VIA A SERIES OF SONIC AND SCULPTURAL INTERVENTIONS. THE WORK IS INSPIRED BY BOTH THE EFFECT THESE SPACES HAVE ON A VISITOR AND THE PECULIAR MIND-STATE OF THE PERIOD OF HISTORY THAT GAVE BIRTH TO THESE ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS. IN PARTICULAR THE INTERWAR YEARS – A PERIOD OF GREAT SELF-DOUBT, WHEN ESTABLISHMENT, HISTORY AND MORALITY HAD BEEN RENDERED BANKRUPT BY THE CALAMITY OF ‘THE GREAT WAR’. - WHEN A BEWILDERED GENERATION CAST ASIDE THE PAST AND INSTEAD FOCUSED ON LOOKING FORWARD AND TO A FLIGHT FROM REALITY. A PERIOD WHEN PEOPLE WERE DEVELOPING A NEW PECULIAR RELATIONSHIP WITH FLIGHT. ON THE ONE HAND, FLIGHT EMBODIED EVERYTHING THAT THE NEXT GENERATION YEARNED FOR. ITS SOARING ESCAPISM WAS EPITOMIZED BY AMERICAN PILOT CHARLES LINDBERGH. HE SINGLE HANDEDLY FLEW ACROSS THE ATLANTIC, AND UPON ARRIVAL, WAS GREETED IN EUROPE LIKE THE NEW MESSIAH. ON THE OTHER HAND THE PERVADING SINISTER DRONE OF THE ‘BOMBER’ WAS ABOUT TO RENDER POPULATIONS WITH THE TERROR OF ‘TOTAL’ WAR.
THE THREE WIND TUNNEL SPACES ARE TREATED LIKE A JOURNEY:
— STARTING FROM THE AWE INSPIRING AND SOMEWHAT METAPHYSICAL WONDER OF THE ‘EXPERIENCE’ - A PLACE FOR HUSHED REVERENCE, TO A FUTURIST TEMPLE AND A PECULIAR POINT IN TIME - WHERE VISITORS CAN LITERALLY WALK WITHIN THE MACHINE. USING A PIONEERING HISTORIC RECORDING, THAT STEMS FROM THE FIRST OUTSIDE BROADCAST MADE BY THE BBC AS A SOURCE, A NEW COMPOSITION GENTLY WEAVES AROUND CARESSING, AND AT TIMES FILLING THE CONCRETE WALLS - FLYING THROUGH SOUND.
— SHIFTING TO THE SECOND TUNNEL, WHERE THE INTERACTION IS MORE INQUISITIVE, AND THE MECHANISM MORE OF A FICTIONAL MACHINE ATTEMPTING TO UNPACK AND HARNESS THE WONDER OF FLIGHT.
— ENDING UP IN THE FINAL EMPTY HANGAR - WHERE A WIND TUNNEL ONCE EXISTED - WHICH PROVIDES A MORE ‘PLAYFUL RELEASE’, HERE THE VAST EMPTY SPACE PROVIDES MORE OF A BLANK CANVAS WHERE THE MORE CONTROLLED AND REGIMENTED TRAJECTORY CAN BE SET FREE, AND WE CAN RE-IMAGINE QUESTIONS SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH RARELY ASK LIKE, DO BIRDS FLY FOR THE THRILL OF IT?
ONE OF THE EARLY ARTISTS TO PIONEER SOUND AS A TOOL FOR SITE-SPECIFIC PUBLIC ART. WORKING LARGELY OUTSIDE THE GALLERY SYSTEM, THOR HAS A DEPTH OF EXPERIENCE, TRANSFORMING PUBLIC SITES AND FORGOTTEN ARCHITECTURAL SPACES. HE CREATES IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES, WHICH INVITE THE VIEWER TO ENTER THE PECULIAR SPACE BETWEEN THE TANGIBLE AND AUDIBLE REALMS. - A BANDSTAND RE-AWAKENED AS AN EAR TO AN HISTORIC MOUND - A FLOCK OF SPEAKERS ‘OCCUPY’ A SQUARE, GIVING VOICE TO THE ARAB SPRING - AN EXPLODED ORCHESTRA RE-ACTIVATES A VICTORIAN MILL - A DERELICT PIER’S STARLING COLONY BECOMES A SONIC GHOST ROOST.
HIS ART INTERVENTIONS HAVE APPEARED IN PUBLIC SITES WORLDWIDE. HIS COLLABORATIONS CROSS THE DISCIPLINES; OPENING THE SYDNEY AND SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVALS WITH TWF; EUROPEAN AWARD WINNING ‘SOUND SPACE’ FOR EUREKA! MUSEUM; BROADCASTS FOR BBC RADIO. THIS YEAR SEE’S COMMISSION’S FOR THE 2014 COLOMBO ART BIENNALE, AND 4 KEY EUROPEAN ARTS FESTIVALS (OERAL, LA STRADA, SAMHAIN, PLACCC.)
The rainbow plane, in its original context, is an artifact of satellite mapping: an aeroplane, photographed in flight by a satellite two hundred and eighty miles above it. Satellites do not photograph the earth; they sense it, their 'eyes' peering through the visible spectrum and deep into the infrared and ultraviolet. As their vision blurs, the appearance of the rainbow plane reveals the ways in which technology and technologically augmented vision constructs the world around us. Rainbow Plane 001 is a recreation of such an event, and an outline of the Miles M.52, the first British experimental supersonic aircraft, developed at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough between 1943 and 1946. The M.52 never flew, but much of its radical design lived on in future supersonic aircraft.
James Bridle is an artist, writer, and publisher based in London, UK. His writing on literature, culture and networks has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Wired, Domus, Cabinet, the Atlantic, the New Statesman, Matter and many others, in print and online, and he writes a regular column for the Observer. His artworks and installations have been exhibited in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia, and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands visitors online. He has been commissioned by organisations including Artangel, Mu Eindhoven, the Istanbul Design Biennial and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC. He was technologist in residence at Lighthouse Gallery in 2012 and his online project Dronestagram received an honorary mention from the Prix Ars Electronica 2013. His formulation of the New Aesthetic research project has spurred debate and creative work across multiple disciplines, and continues to inspire critical and artistic responses. He lectures regularly on radio, at universities, conferences and other events, including SXSW (US), Lift (CH), dConstruct (UK) and the Milan Design Festival, and in 2012 he was an Adjunct Professor on the Interactive Telecommunications Programme at New York University. His work can be found at http://booktwo.org.
MAN MUST RISE ABOVE THE EARTH—TO THE TOP OF THE ATMOSPHERE AND BEYOND—FOR ONLY THUS WILL HE FULLY UNDERSTAND THE WORLD IN WHICH HE LIVES.
— SOCRATES, 469-399 BC.
SHROUDED IN SECRECY SINCE THEIR INCEPTION, Q121 AND R52, TWO OF THE EARLIEST AERODYNAMIC TESTING FACILITIES IN THE WORLD, REVEAL THEMSELVES TO THE PUBLIC. THEIR MEMORIES, SPILLING TALES AND ANECDOTES OF AUDACIOUS ADVENTURE, EXPERIMENTATION INVENTION AND DESTRUCTION.
ENTRENCHED IN LAYERS OF HISTORY, PERSONAL STORIES OF GENERATIONS AND THE INFINITE DREAM OF FLIGHT, THESE ICONIC BUILDINGS STAND LIKE MODERNIST SHRINES TO AVIATION. THEIR ABANDONED REMAINS TEMPLE LIKE IN GRANDEUR SIMULTANEOUSLY CAST IN THE FUTURE. HOWEVER, RECKONING AND CONTENDING WITH THE SHEER MAGNITUDE OF THIS LEGACY CAN LEAVE ONE CONFOUNDED.
AT THE CORE OF THIS PROJECT IS THE IDEA OF REVELATION AND THE HUMAN IMAGINATION. WHAT FAST HAVE PRESERVED THROUGH STEALTH AND DETERMINATION, ARE THE FOUNDATIONS OF A TESTAMENT TO BOTH THE BRILLIANCE OF THE IMAGINATION AND THE SINISTER REMINDER OF THE MIGHT OF TECHNOLOGY IN A TIME OF WAR.
BOTH ARTISTS INVITED INTERVENE INTUITIVELY TO THESE SPACES, DRAWING ON ARCHIVES PRESERVED AT THE FAST MUSEUM AND PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF ITS PAST INHABITANTS. THOR DELVES INTO THE PERPLEXED PSYCHE OF THE BRITISH PUBLIC DURING THE INTERWAR YEARS – GRAPPLING WITH THE AFTERMATH OF THE GREAT WAR WITH HOPEFUL EYES CAST UPWARDS TO THE SKIES AND TO FLIGHT AS THEIR REDEEMER.
USING SOUND, HE REAWAKENS AND REIMAGINES THESE SPACES, CONNECTING BOTH BUILDINGS ALMOST AS A STORYTELLER. LAYERED RECORDINGS REVERBERATE THROUGH ITS CORRIDORS, CHAMBERS AND CORNERS. CHORAL CHANTS FILL THE SPACE HEIGHTENING THE FEELING OF WONDER WHILST THE 1942 RECORDING OF THE RUMBLE OF THE LANCASTER BOMBERS’ OVERHEAD BREAKING THE SONG OF THE NIGHTINGALE REMINDS US ONCE MORE OF THE DARKER UNDERTONES AND OUTCOMES OF THIS EXPERIMENTATION.
Under the Hot Air Balloon Hangar, ARTIST, WRITER AND TECHNOLOGIST JAMES BRIDLE OUTLINES HIS RAINBOW PLANE 001 IN THE STYLE OF THE DRONE SHADOWS, A FULL SCALE AND COLOUR GROUND INSTALLATION.
THE GHOST LIKE SILHOUETTE OF THE M.52 SUPERSONIC AIRCRAFT CAPTURED THROUGH THE EYES OF A SATELLITE. NO LONGER LOOMING ABOVE, BRIDLE BRINGS ITS IMPRINT UNDERNEATH OUR FOOTSTEPS, FORCING US TO COMPREHEND ITS SHEER SCALE.
THE SITE’S POTENTIAL FOR NEW ENCOUNTERS AND IMAGININGS IS EXPLORED WITHIN THE WIND TUNNEL PROJECT’S SIX WEEK PROGRAMME. THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART’S MA STUDENTS FROM THE SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES EXAMINE THE SITE MANY FACETS TO PRODUCE A SERIES OF PODCASTS AND MATERIAL WOVEN INTO THE PHYSICAL AND ONLINE EXPERIENCE.
GUITARIST AND COMPOSER JONNY GREENWOOD JOINS THE LONDON CONTEMPORARY ORCHESTRA FOR A PERFORMANCE INSIDE THE COLOSSAL Q121. DECADES AFTER THEIR FOUNDER HELPED DESIGN Q121, FARNBOROUGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA RETURNS THERE TO PERFORM “FROM BACH TO BRITTEN.’ WRITER SUSAN SCHUPPLI AND ARTIST LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN PRESENT A PERFORMATIVE LECTURE THAT UNPICKS THE SONIC IMPACT OF DRONE SURVEILLANCE DELVING INTO THE ARCHIVES OF FAST. THROUGH THE INTIMACY AND RITUAL OF DINING, CONCEPT CHEF AND ARTIST, CAROLINE HOBKINSON CREATES A MULTI SENSORY SEVEN COURSE AEROBANQUET RELAYING THE DREAM OF FLYING.
THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE WIND TUNNEL PROJECT IS SHAPED BY THE VIEWERS’ SENSES, CURIOSITY AND IMAGINATION. WE HOPE THAT IT WILL ALLOW THEM TO BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY DISCOVER THESE SITES AND THEIR POSSIBILITIES.
Salma Tuqan is the Contemporary Middle East curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Salma previously worked at Art Dubai since its inauguration in 2007 as Head of Artists’ Projects as well as Artistic Director of Contemparabia. Salma has contributed to many projects as an independent curator and facilitator, including Palestine c/o Venice at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) and Future Movements at the Liverpool Biennial (2010). She is an active board member of ArtSchool Palestine, The Khatt Foundation, Artistic Committee for the Marrakech Biennale, Trustee of the Crossway Foundation, Strategic Advisory Panel member of the Delfina Foundation and chair of the Young Committee for the Barakat Trust for Islamic Art, London.
A lecture series and podcasts will be produced in collaboration with the Royal College of Art and by a selection of MA students from the humanities department. They will work together with the curator and FAST to devise a series of lectures and podcasts that will reveal Farnborough’s fascinating story and draw out threads of conversations for audience.
THE PROGRAMME OVER THE PERIOD OF SIX WEEKS WILL INCLUDE A RANGE OF PERFORMANCES, MUSICAL EVENINGS, FILM SCREENINGS, LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS. COLLABORATIONS INCLUDE: LONDON CONTEMPORARY ORCHESTRA AND JONNY GREENWOOD, FARNBOROUGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, A LECTURE PERFORMANCE BY WRITER SUSAN SCHUPPLI AND ARTIST LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN, A SEVEN COURSE AEROBANQUET BY CAROLINE HOBKINSON, A SERIES OF CULINARY WORKSHOPS.
Royal College of Art
The Royal College of Art (RCA) School of Humanities offers students the opportunity to develop their own practice in the fields of history, theory, writing and curating. The School has a distinctive and highly innovative research culture based upon its extremely close relationship to art and design practice.
The School’s disciplinary interests span the fine arts, architecture, design (including fashion, graphics, interior and product design), craft, communication, film, photography and digital media. Through its various programmes, the School of Humanities trains the historians, curators, writers, journalists and critics of the future, and plays a vital part in the dialogue between history, theory and practice.
The School of Humanities also has a reputation for research excellence. Its centre for doctoral studies supports more than 40 MPhil and PhD students working across the School.
The School is led by Professor Jane Pavitt, Head of the History of Design Programme and Dean of the School of Humanities, a specialist in twentieth-century and contemporary design with a particular area of expertise and interest in design curation.
The RCA’s project for Artliner is co-ordinated by Rebecca Bell, Arts Project Manager and doctoral student in History of Design. Rebecca’s PhD research concerns post-war design and craft under Communism in Czechoslovakia. She also has worked widely in contemporary art commissioning, teaching and public programming for organisations and artists including Art on the Underground, Andy Goldsworthy, the Design and Artists Copyright Society and The School of Life.
Students from across the School of Humanities are delighted to be working with Artliner and FAST on The Wind Tunnel Project. The V&A/RCA History of Design MA students are producing a series of podcasts and image-based material to engage the audience with the rich and complex narratives accompanying Farnborough’s pioneering aviation research history.