Around the World in 80 Airports

Ross Rudesch Harley, “Around the world in 80 airports”, in John Urry , Saolo Cwerner, Sven Kesselring (eds), Air TimeSpaces: Theory and Method in Aeromobilities Research, Routledge, [forthcoming] 2008.



Imagine you got on a plane, and didn’t stop — just flew from one city to the next, without ever really touching the ground. Imagine a journey around the world, where you never leave the realm of the airport.

This chapter is a modification and a response to the conceptual art practice of the 1970s that dealt with nature and experience through the creation of work about the relation between time, space, distance, geography, measurement and experience. A modification of Richard Long’s well-known nature walks, this project is a formal and media-filtered description of the non-space and experience of the global spaces of airports and their most elemental materials.

These “airport walks” gathered over a period of 5 years, are at once documentations, deconstructions and interventions in the environment of airports. Referring back to the 19th century dream of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 hours (popularised by Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days”), this project exchanges time for space. The airports presented create a personal map of the world, that turns out to be shared by many millions of other travelers who find themselves tracing similar routes in the course of their daily life.

This photo-essay will be created especially for the format, dimension and design of the book, and will be submitted as a series of print-ready B+W spreads.