Playing with ‘Variations on Mobility’, the four Creative Commissions teams in 2019-2020 have developed their projects along different trajectories traced by the unfolding movements of People, Objects, Texts and Ideas across times and spaces. As small groups composed of academics who have embraced art in their research practices, or artists working in collaboration with scholars across various disciplinary backgrounds, the Commissions engage different Theories and Methods of mobility, working with ethnographic, archival, historical, anthropological, geographical and creative methodologies. The following text and original images represent a short abstract realised by the team to help us follow the path of their creative work.

Flying Boat | Progress post #2

The Flying Boat project began as a provocation; it imagined a retro-future, a world to come severely afflicted by climate change and fuel scarcity, and reverting to past modes of mobility. The short video Fellows, California 17.03 21.07.19 shows the limits of witnessing carbon infrastructures and shifts to the implications of mobilities that contribute to destruction as an subject for representation.[1] The video briefly illustrates the rationale for the retro-future proposition. [2]


Fellows, California.. positions images as significant actants in our understanding of the world.[3] An underdeveloped sub-theme is the division of the globe into zones of resource extraction on the one hand; and resource control and consumption on the other, the imperial system of resource sequestation operative in the heyday of Flying Boats. [4] Parallels with popular culture in the imagined worlds of The Hunger Games, Total Recall II and The Handmaidens Tale can be noted, as can the embedding of spatial conflict as enriching narratives. Here, visual montage as generative of analysis is briefly tested. Active engagement by an audience is key to this approach to representation.



[1] This is of course a site visit, or “ground truthing”. In a celebratory mode, the mobility and fluidity of the twenty-first century is explored in Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid Modernity; the grounding of western democracies in fossil fuel extraction more critically analysed in Mitchell, T. (2013). Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. The challenges of depicting climate change are explored in Ghosh, A. (2016). The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable and Nixon, R. (2011). Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor.

[2] Data for sea level rise can be downloaded here –

[3] A visual cultures approach – cf. Mirzoeff, N. (2016). How to See the World: An Introduction to Images, from Self-Portraits to Selfies, Maps to Movies, and More. That images might be ‘actants’ is a perspective native to Actor Network Theory pioneered by Bruno Latour – cf. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory.

[4] See Massey for a discussion of the importance of space in narrative – Massey, D. (2005). For Space. The intersection of spatial and uneven space see – Smith, N. and Harvey, D. (2010). Uneven Development: Nature, Capital and the Production of Space.