Rule One: Every rule has an exception, but no one is sure what it is.

Every day IATA (International Air Transport Association) publishes an updated set of rules from member states defining who is and isn’t permitted to enter the respective countries under various Covid-19 lockdown regimes. Each day this list grows longer with contronyms, paradoxes, and complex, seemingly arbitrary sub-clauses that produce multifold exceptions. The more information-rich the schematic becomes, the less legible it is. Occasionally, new parameters clash with prior parameters and apparently contradictory guidelines are obtained. Rules disappear entirely and new rules appear overnight. This is a process by which an explicit and temporary state of exception develops into an overt and semi-permanent anomaly that is integrated in quotidian life, a condition in which the definitive interpretation of the rule belongs solely to those who impose it. While observing the process of global reterritorialization doesn’t always make clear who is and isn’t permitted to cross which borders, it does provide a genealogy of the process by which information outlaws are created.

No Fly Free Zone is an automated live broadcast of the individual nation state travel restrictions as published by the IATA. The broadcast is continuous and is updated perennially to incorporate changes as they become available on the IATA website. Download the source code for this work here.

This work is a transatlantic collaboration between artists Mari Bastashevski & Sam Lavigne, with thanks to Daniel Maszkowicz for advice on data sonification.