Topologies of Air by Shona Illingworth is an immersive multi-screen sound and video installation examining the impact of accelerating geopolitical, technological and environmental change on the composition, nature and use of airspace. The piece questions the narrow terms by which it is currently represented and defined. The work aims to invite the audience look up and consider the air above their heads not as a void, free space, but a multi-layered, complex cultural and legal space, that is shared and personal, with a long history and rapidly changing future. This sensory and captivating piece weaves together extensive conversations with scientists, researchers, lawyers, philosophers, economists, astronomers, archaeologists and many others with evocative imagery shot in places such as Other Hebrides in Scotland, Canadian Northern Territories, Greenland, Australia, the Gulf among others, and archival footage looking at the airspace from a multitude of perspectives.
Shona Illingworth has been collaborating on the project with Nick Grief, University of Kent and Doughty Street Chambers, a law professor specialising in airspace and human rights law and member of the legal team that represented the Marshall Islands before the International Court of Justice in nuclear disarmament cases against India, Pakistan and the UK.
On 21 September 2018, the inaugural hearings of the Airspace Tribunal contributing key research and discussion towards Topologies Of Air took place at Doughty Street Chambers. More about the Airspace Tribunal