Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation

villemard art  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation(All images via Tom Wigley)

Flying machines were in their infancy in 1910, the ability to fly in itself a technological wonder.  But that didn’t stop eccentrics and inspired thinkers dreaming of a time when aircraft were so ubiquitous that bars and restaurants would offer ‘fly-throughs’.  That might sound rather far fetched, even by today’s standards, but French artist Villemard offered an image of Parisian life in the year 2000 that in some ways has come to pass.

villemard art 2  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation

These retro-futuristic postcards show a variety of aviation-related scenes in which aircraft rescue stricken sailors, helicopters patrol the skies, spying on those below, and a seaplane – in this case a vintage wooden boat held aloft by two zeppelin-like hot air balloons – drifts above an ocean.

villemard art 3  Vintage Visions: Villemard’s 1910 Depictions of 21st Century Aviation

Elsewhere, flying cops hold up unruly airborne motorists – a theme explored in science fiction films such as Minority Report, but perhaps not too far from (an alternate) reality if flying cars are anything to go by.  In more serene scenes, all manner of flying machines, from prop-planes to ornithopters, cruise down the Avenue de l’Opéra.

The scenes are at once pleasant and chaotic.  While Villemard could never grasp the rate by which technology would advance over the next 90 years, he clearly understood the crucial role aviation would play in our modern world.

Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?

harrier and jaguar tate 2  Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?(Image: cormac70, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

In March our sibling site Urban Ghosts broke a story concerning the whereabouts of Fiona Banner’s Harrier and Jaguar, the two retired jets at the centre of Tate Britain’s most talked-about exhibit of 2010. While the aircraft remains pictured have not been officially confirmed as the Tate art exhibits, the evidence is compelling. But despite the interest generated during the show, their fates have attracted little attention.

harrier and jaguar tate 3  Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?(Image: cormac70, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

Despite contacting several reporters who covered the Harrier and Jaguar exhibit in the mainstream press, the only online interest in their demise can be found in this aviation forum discussion. While it seems a pity, given the aircrafts’ histories, it also illustrates perfectly Storm Climb’s core raison d’être – to report on issues of interest in the aviation world that might otherwise go unnoticed.

harrier and jaguar tate 4  Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?(Image: cormac70, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

Admittedly, small fighter and ground attack aircraft aren’t as adaptable for other uses as larger planes. You can’t turn them into a hostel like you can a 747, or innovative modern houses like these luxury examples from Dark Roasted Blend. But with several retired Harrier and Jaguar airframes existing in museums and even suburban gardens, it’s a shame that these two famous examples went (it seems) to the scrap heap.

harrier and jaguar tate  Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?(Images: Matt Brown, cc-3.0)

The images above show the Harrier and Jaguar in the Duveens Galleries at Tate Britain during the exhibition (read the full story here), displayed as “ambiguous objects implying both captured beast and fallen trophy”. Their next place of residence – a scrap yard in Harrow, London – has not been so widely reported, but you can explore it here.