By David Pascoe
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Extra info for Airspaces
Yet, in terms of his 61 career, the painting itself was oddly final. Perhaps intended as a memorial to a group of connoisseurs of fine art, 129 Die was the last of Warhol’s works to be executed using brushes; from here on his reproduction would be undertaken mechanically. The speed of the jet age demanded it. At the time, the jet was exciting many other cultural commentators. Roland Barthes, celebrating the culture of thrust in relation to La Tour Eiffel, suggested that the new aviation technology could even lead to time travel: Indeed, iron provides human communication with a new image, that of the thrust [‘jet’].
After Albertine’s accidental death – she falls from a horse, rather than out of the sky – the narrator, suffering from writer’s block, and a range of physical ailments, retires to a sanatorium outside Paris, where he lives, chronically unwell. Regarding himself as an artistic failure, he returns to Paris and is driven though the city to attend a matinée chez La Princesse de Guermantes. As his car traverses the badly paved streets near the Champs-Elysées, so familiar to him as a boy, the narrator suddenly experiences the feeling of flight: The solid earth knew in itself where it had to go; its resistance was vanquished.
Over the next week, 500,000 people visited, among them the President of France, Roosevelt and the First Lady, David Lloyd George, the future King of the Belgians and numerous high-ranking military figures. On the last day, over 250,000 visitors paid up, and saw Latham break the altitude record, circling higher and higher until he attained the dizzy height of 508 feet, before descending slowly to the runway. ’44 The early passion for watching planes propel themselves over the lucerne runways had little to do with prospects of public transportation or thoughts of commercial utility, present or future.
Airspaces by David Pascoe