Photos by Peter Cox
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. The promotional slogan ‘from Georgia to Europe for 37 euros’ echoed the former ‘37 Ruble’ flights to Moscow that for many were still associated with the relative financial stability and security of the Soviet era.
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.
3D Render artist: Ignas van Rijckevorsel
Narration voice actor: Sophio Mikadze
Sound engineer: Aleksandre Janiashvili
Irakli Sabekia works between design, art and philosophy to produce multidisciplinary explorations of matter, image and meaning through spatial installations and object interactions.