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Art in
public spaces

Le Gentil Garçon


Society of Motionless Travellers

1% artistique
Work in three dimensions
2012
Construction
Lycée Jacques Prévert
1, place Lucie Aubrac
30380 Saint-Christol-lès-Alès
Project manager
Région Languedoc-Roussillon
Architect
Chabanne, André Berardi - Piro
Contact
Website
Enquiries at the school
Free admission
Accessible to disabled people
Enquiries at the school
I found inspiration for this piece in the school’s architecture, especially in the way its volumes are distributed, and the circulation that this implies. When I read the blueprint of the project, what first came to mind was the idea of an airport : a curved main building leading to terminals constructed transversally. I chose to set up the Society of Motionless Travellers in the school cafeteria, the most emblematic area, in the likeness of a departure hall.
The piece consists of a mechanical billboard similar to those used in airports. Although the technology involved is strictly the same, its function is reinterpreted : the billboard is custom-built and, at meal times, runs the departure schedule for imaginary destinations borrowed from different cultural imaginations around the world, with a great variety of references. These range from literature to comic books, from cinema to cartoons, from classical painting to contemporary art, through to philosophy, poetry, science, and even architecture and song writing.
The board randomly displays the departures selected from a list of 1,455 destinations (at the time of its installation). Each line on the board shows the name of an imaginary destination, along with what resembles the usual flight indications :
- the logo of the airline company, designating the style of the work that inspired the destination (utopia, dystopia, satire, science-fiction, mythology…) ;

- the name of the pilot, which corresponds to the name of the author who imagined and described this imaginary place (writer, poet, painter, film director…) ;
- the flight number, which corresponds to the year the work was created.
One can, for instance, travel to Atlantis on Myth-Jet’s flight #357 BC, flown by Plato, or choose to leave for Metropolis on SF Airways’ flight #1927, flown by Fritz Lang.
The simple presence of the billboard under the imaginary aegis of the Society of Motionless Travellers – the SMT – symbolically displaces the venue’s function. The cafeteria becomes a waiting room and the whole school becomes the perfect airport to embark on imaginary flights. Is it not said that travel broadens the mind ? The piece is not definitive, and the list of destinations stays open. A user-friendly computer interface has been programmed to complete the board’s database.
A SMT travel guide has been published in addition to the piece. It is available at the school library, and presents a selection of 280 destinations, along with short texts and illustrations. (Le Gentil Garçon)

Assistance for artists : Bureau des projets.
Production, programming, and installation of the billboard : Solari di Udine, with IMC-Systèmes

— Artist’s Website
— Guidebook of Motionless Travellers’ society



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