Geoffrey Farmer – Airliner Open Studio, OCTOBER 21–NOVEMBER 18, 2006

Geoffrey Farmer
Airliner Open Studio
October 21–November 18, 2006

Catriona Jeffries

This installation by Geoffrey Farmer revolved around a large-scale film set prop of a commercial jet interior, which Farmer restored after finding in a barn in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. Throughout the run of the exhibition, during non-gallery hours, Farmer developed video works, sculpture and drawings out of and around the set, rehearsing it both as sculptural object and conceptual platform. Farmer's exploration produced results that changed from day-to-day and which the public were invited to view during gallery hours.

The installation incorporated actual and made-up parts of a 727 airplane interior and continued Farmer’s use of found objects and his interest in the ambiguous life of props and sets. In 1963 the Boeing 727 was introduced as an American domestic short-haul aircraft and it quickly became the most popular jetliner of its time due to its ability to take off on mid-size runways. The distinct three engine plane was eventually surpassed by the mechanical evolution of the quieter twin engine 737. With higher fuel costs, lower sales due to the post-9/11 economic climate, and the extra expense of maintaining older planes, the major airlines have decommissioned most of the 727s from their fleet although many are still used some 40 years later.

The airplane installation might be seen to reverse or invert Farmer's past work, Trailer, which appears to be a standard, thirty-foot film industry production vehicle used commonly for transporting props and costumes but upon closer look is revealed to be a ghost or fabricated shell of this assumed function. In Farmer's exhibition, he continues to explore and experiment with these cinematic forms, looking at the found set as both a real object and an imaginary space to work through the psychological and sociological aspects that these highly regulated environments evoke.