Passage Oublié is an interactive touchscreen artwork about extraordinary renditions, installed at Pearson Airport, Toronto.
“What else do we lose when we make people disappear? Passage Oublié is an interactive artwork allowing the public to send messages to a touchscreen kiosk located in Pearson’s International Airport. Messages received are animated along flight trajectories on a map featuring airports involved in rendition flights. A rendition flight is a detainee-transfer practice where people, currently mostly Muslim men, are transported in rented commercial jets to interrogation sites around the world known as black sites. Although there exists a legal form of rendition to hand suspects over to another country, the procedure is also conducted outside any legal system, hence offering no protection for the detainees. Passage Oublié focuses on documented cases of such illegal renditions, known as “Extraordinary Renditions”, which surpass the number of legal renditions. The survivors of Extraordinary Renditions tell of numerous human rights violations. Passage Oublié invites Citizens of the World in transit at Pearson’s International Airport to send text messages relating to these questions: Are rendition flights an acceptable means of dealing with new terrorism threats? How does their use affect a country’s credibility as a defender of liberty? Does the end justify the means when it comes to pre-emptive war on terror? Are we compromising on the liberal democracies’ cherished principle of innocent-until-proven-guilty?