Marco Polo took half a lifetime to reach the Orient, another half to return to Venice. My ancestors took half a year to reach the antipodes, and they never saw their homeland again. Today it takes half an hour to cross a country, half a day to cross a continent.
In 2017, the Barcelona El Prat Airport, where these photographs were taken, handled over forty-seven million passengers, requiring over 323,000 flights per year to transport this global citizenry of travellers, suits, and migrants. This space-time contraction has obvious benefits, allowing some of us to enjoy trans-continental careers, studies, and romances unimaginable to even our parents’ generation.
But the space-time contraction has many real indirect consequences: cities saturated with tourism and clogged by cars, some soon to be flooded by a rising sea; aviation workers clinging to insecure employment; suburbs deafened by flight paths, others colonised by sightseers’ accommodation… In these modern times, the space-time contraction is both a blessing and a curse.
Lives and Times…
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