In 2015 I acquired a very large ‘Solari board’ (aka ‘split-flap’ information display) 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 sign 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 display. 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 sign will also be Internet-enabled, so the artist can text or Tweet their work to the display remotely – thereby teasing apart the relationships between anonymity, authority, and authorship, via social media.