From 1943, with James Shaw Grant as secretary, The Lewis Association in the Outer Hebrides began investigating and publishing reports which described the social and economic problems affecting the island. Addressing themes such as changing agriculture, the tweed industry, communications and the impact of the war, the reports also offered a number of speculative proposals and solutions.

One of these noted Stornoway's position on the 'Great Circle' flight paths between Europe and America, and its potential as an air transport hub and re-fuelling stop - an east-Atlantic counterpart to Gander in Newfoundland, which prospered in this role through the mid-century period.

But, for Lewis, the plan remained behind the curve. Just as it might have become possible to realise this future, more efficiently designed aeroplanes had started to make long-haul transatlantic flights without re-fuelling, and the conceptualisation of Lewis as prime Great Circle real-estate dissolved.

Where other failed development projects, such as Lord Leverhulme's half-built island railway, still criss-cross the landscape of Lewis, SYY International Airport requires an archaeology of the imagination to uncover it - sifting layers of geopolitical and geophysical dreams through the filter of air travel.

Flightpath is an experimental instrument which uses the structure of this future-that-never-was as a synthesis engine. While selection of a single airport achieves nothing, and inputting one long-haul flight from LA to Moscow simply creates a looping note, exploring different routes, networks and stopovers creates intermingling pitch sequences, rhythms and interference patterns. The player interrogates the travel possibilities that sit under the hand in this part-travel-agency < > part-Haang drum.

Copyright 2020, Hector MacInnes. All Rights Reserved.