Stainless steel. Streamlined shapes. Subtle patterns in discreet dark blue. Soft head cushions. Calm voices. Barf bags neatly folded into the seat-back pockets.
The World Is Our Home, You Are Our Guest
Globalisation makes the world smaller. It facilitates international trading, stimulates intercultural exchange and inspires cultural homogenisation. Globalisation brings people together by making them more alike, by making them wear the same swooshes on their sneakers, keeping their books in same awkwardly named bookshelves, drinking the same Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino® while listening to the same jazzy soundtrack, fiddling with the same smartphones. Driven by a longing for security, confidence and homeliness, we bundle up in a snug blanket of well-known trademarks and let the generic aesthetics of globalisation lull us into safety. Brands and logos are the closest we can get to an international language and the mall is the new public space. The political power is slipping over from nation-states to multinational enterprises that dominate the global market as well as the minds of the customers. There is no centre or periphery, only inside or outside of the mall, up or down on the international stock market.
Search data is the new collective consciousness and Qatar Airways fires employees over Facebook statuses. The football team Atlético Madrid’s main sponsor is the state of Azerbaijan and King, the company behind Candy Crush Saga, has access to over two million gigabytes of user information. Kids are still killing each other over Nike sneakers and Apple’s Chinese supplier Foxconn has put up safety nets outside their factory windows to prevent employees from committing suicide. Behind the homely, homogenous surface of global gentrification lies a darker truth, shrouded in stock-exchange quotations and jazzy soundtracks.
In Love at First Flight, Viktor Fordell presents collages of air sickness bags mounted on photographs showing close-ups of airplane details. Some of the world’s best and most successful airline companies are represented: Qatar Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air and Etihad Airways, enterprises known for their excellent services and highly questionable working conditions. By appropriating the repetitive, generic language of globalisation, Fordell’s work scratches the surface covering the new empire of enterprise, carefully painted in discreet dark blue.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.