||Maybe the sky is really green and we're just colorblind
(1995 - ...)
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent
The Belgian artist Johan Grimonprez examines narrative codes in the recent history of news media. Best known for his video-essay Dial H.I.S.T.O.R.Y. he investigates the twilight zone between fact and fiction. Similar themes are explored in several lounges with videotheques.
Inflight Lounge, exhibitioned between 23 September 2000 and 7 January 2001 in S.M.A.K. Ghent, is one of them. Room 9 of the first floor was turned into departure hall of an airport. A cup of coffee or a glass of water were at the visitors disposal. While sitting in a comfortable chair he could watch a movie of his choice. A selection of airplane movies was provided: going for hijacking stories, to UFO movies and a William Shatner with fear of flying. As well airport classics as bizarre commercials were included in the supply. The literature on the tables was as little of a reassuring kind. The Inflight magazine, the real looking booklet of Skyjack Air, was based on glossy magazines one can find in airplanes but unlike the real magazine it overflowed with hijacking information: a journal of a hijacker, an article about historical hijackings, a text about the skyjacker’s profile, one about aliens’ abduction, an article about cyberwar, etc., all stuffed with frightening looking pictures and quotes. Also on the tables, you could find barf bags with a pictogram of a crashing airplane and ‘Safety on Board’-cards. This time these cards don’t tell us what to do when a technical problem occurs, but what to do if the plane is hijacked, possibly by aliens. An explanation of the pictograms in these ‘do’s and don’ts: how to survive a hijack’ could be found at the back of the magazine, together with a terrorist calendar (which are the most popular dates for hijackings?), a control menu for the ‘cyberjack control pad’ and some maps with skyjacking routes. The walls of the space were painted with a Mickey Mouse with alien eyes in a house-shaped television (a symbol of contemporary television-consumption culture), a pictogram that shows us we can only leave the plane on high heels if it’s been hijacked and a Master Jack-logo. The space was cheered up with plants.
Since then this video lounge has never been shown in the S.M.A.K.