Irakli Sabekia

Breathe Normally

Installation

In 2012 a new airport designated for budget airlines opened in Kutaisi, Georgia. One of its kind in the Caucasian region, it connected Kutaisi to several large cities in Western Europe through cheap flights.

 

While the majority of European passengers used the new flights for cheap vacations, for Georgian passengers the connections became an important part of the local economy, enabling trade, seasonal work, and other means of income. These new opportunities which budget airlines created for a society unfamiliar with commodified travel simultaneously exposed its vulnerabilities. Often taking first-ever flights, many used this portal of possibilities to find a way out of the stagnant economy of the state. Instructed by self-proclaimed recruitment agents, travel advisors and foreign employers, they joined the stream of precarious migrant workers, extending the perpetual struggle for survival beyond national borders.

 

Breathe Normally investigates the cultural impact of budget airlines from the perspective of a small remote airport and the society it serves. Juxtaposing the informal struggle of the outbound travellers and the formal language of the aviation industry, it composes a comprehensive guide for successful air travel for non-Europeans.

 

Link to the installation video

Copyright Irakli Sabekia 2021

In 2012 a new airport designated for budget airlines opened in Kutaisi, Georgia. One of its kind in the Caucasian region, it connected Kutaisi to several large cities in Western Europe through cheap flights.

 

While the majority of European passengers used the new flights for cheap vacations, for Georgian passengers the connections became an important part of the local economy, enabling trade, seasonal work, and other means of income. These new opportunities which budget airlines created for a society unfamiliar with commodified travel simultaneously exposed its vulnerabilities. Often taking first-ever flights, many used this portal of possibilities to find a way out of the stagnant economy of the state. Instructed by self-proclaimed recruitment agents, travel advisors and foreign employers, they joined the stream of precarious migrant workers, extending the perpetual struggle for survival beyond national borders.

 

Breathe Normally investigates the cultural impact of budget airlines from the perspective of a small remote airport and the society it serves. Juxtaposing the informal struggle of the outbound travellers and the formal language of the aviation industry, it composes a comprehensive guide for successful air travel for non-Europeans.

 

Link to the installation video