As I took in the photographs, my thoughts turned to FT Marinetti and the dream of a mechanical future. In his 1909 Futurist Manifesto, Marinetti wrote:
They will find us at last one winter’s night in the depths of the country in a sad hangar echoing with the notes of the monotonous rain, crouched near our trembling aeroplanes, warming our hands at the wretched fire which our books of today will make when they flame gaily beneath the glittering flight of their pictures.
These images of decommissioned planes were taken at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert. The gallery’s press release offers an excellent counterpoint to the Futurist dream, to “yesterday’s tomorrows“:
While some planes continue landing at large international airports like LAX, ZRH and JFK, MHV marks the end of the line for others: MHV is the IATA airport code for Mojave Air and Space Port and normally signals the last destination these aeroplanes will see. Very few are able to leave here and continue operating, the remainder spend the rest of their existence as a spare parts store. SCANDERBEG SAUER approached these disused and discarded machines and captured their beat and battered beauty with delicate sensitivity.
Since the inception of air travel, the aeroplane has not only transported passengers but has also acted as a projection surface for people’s dreams… In the rising Western economy, aeroplanes embody potency and success like no other technological achievement. With the introduction of the wide-bodied passenger airliner, the Boeing 747, aka the ‘Jumbo Jet’, air travel was finally presented with an icon that would become the emblem of freedom and success for generations of people.
What once stood for dynamism, elegance, beauty and speed now lays askew, jacked up and split open in hot desert sand. Nevertheless, SCANDERBEG SAUER manage to conjure up the resplendent past of these lifeless bodies in their aesthetically flawless images. What we see are the staple favourites: a Jumbo Jet, a DC-10, a Convair – all somewhat worse for wear, but perfectly recognisable. Missing undercarriages, engines and even completely missing wings cannot overshadow beauty. There is nothing left of dynamism here; on the contrary, it is now only the eye that slowly wanders over the image. Nothing more moves. Time has lost its relevance. Man fades out leaving only the relics of his existence behind.
Presenting the attractive side of industries and their products in their commissioned works, SCANDERBEG SAUER now highlight the darker side of the global economy in ‘Decommissioned’. Discarded aeroplanes stand as a memorial to inflated air travel, limited oil deposits and an unappeased appetite for greater and cheaper travel. It is not without reason or shame that [they] have been carefully removed.
These photos have also been featured in SWISS Magazine.