Jerome Grant RecipientsJerome grant recipients '99:


Jennifer McCoyKevin McCoy

In July 1999:
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

AIRWORLD is a project about networks, lines of flight, distribution hubs, soft architecture, and global capital. AIRWORLD unites the airline with the airport to create a unified virtual AirSpace that encircles the globe. It exists in and navigates through new vectors of pan-capitalism in which traditional markers of physical space and standard demarcations of power are withdrawn. Here the panic and displacement of endless travel are permanent. AIRWORLD presents a topology of life in this new economy. Its fractured narrative brings together the articulations of contemporary architecture as it blends from hard spaces to soft screens, and makes projections about the next experience of culture. It imagines that all functional social space (work, home, leisure) has become one entity. In this entity, the banality of corporate living has seeped into all spheres of life, under a three-faced figure of reassurance, micro/macromanagement, and nomadic control. AIRWORLD witnesses the fading of the individual into a landscape of preset situations in which a list of established character types speak predetermined responses.

Within the AIRWORLD project, the Internet will be used as a vehicle of exploration for these themes, and as a contemporary site of such a transformation. AIRWORLD occurs beyond the point of a specific, discrete location. When applying this idea to, it means that the act of creating a distinct "art site", then bringing people to it, is fading. AIRWORLD is a distributed network that posits itself to be anywhere and everywhere. An important strategy for articulating this state will be AIRWORLD banner ads. The banner ads function as a kind of meme or media virus. Once created, it sits dormant in an ad server's database, mimicking the other messages that surround it. Once activated, it uses its host's protocols to propagate its message on the user's system. The banner ad form displaces AIRWORLD from a specific, single address on the Internet. The function of the ads will not be to merely bring viewers to the site (although they will have this secondary attribute), rather it will be to bring AIRWORLD to the viewers. The banner ads colonize other, already commercialized portions of the Internet, making them part of AIRWORLD. The banner ads are part of a strategy that lets us extend the reach of AIRWORLD, where the transmission and propagation of the message, in the form of an ad, in an end in itself.

Using banner ads to distribute AIRWORLD across the network will not be the only web presence of the project. The AIRWORLD web site itself will also use formal devices to underscore conceptual issues of "content. The AIRWORLD site itself will be comprised of several sections, mirroring the usual corporate site architecture. Particularly important will be the employment category. AIRWORLD has an exceedingly progressive human relations strategy. It postulates a future in which passengers and airline employees alike are uniformed, thus breaking down the codes by which we recognize expertise and authority. The architecture of the site will mirror the strategies of modern architecture in which bigness and modularity play key roles. Navigating the site will be an activity in which generic signs lead the viewer to generic spaces. Language and hospitality will be present in abundance, but will leave the viewer with an uneasy sense that he still is not quite sure what to do.


Jennifer and Kevin McCoy are collaborators residing in New York City. For the last several years they have been making interactive computer installations as well as videotapes and net art. Recently, they produced a project that explored women's relationship with technology, called Small Appliances. This project was presented as an interactive computer installation in a gallery, as a CD-ROM, and as an Internet project. The project was made possible through a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. In 1997, at the invitation of The Thing, NYC, we produced a large-scale site entitled MAINTENANCE WEB, made in collaboration with Torsten Burns. This project explored themes of tedium and endless maintenance, both situations that technological process can engender.



Small Appliances

The McCoy Residence

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