photography, tracing paper
The project MCMXIV explores into historical events which might have been obscured by the occurrence of First World War but still have had a fundamental role in civilization processes and in the idealistic and optimistic construction of the future. From the launch of the very first commercial flight, passing by the introduction of the assembly line by Henry Ford, the series aims to open a window onto remote happenings mainly concerning human’s evolution that still have influences on contemporary society. Just before the take-off, Percival Fansler, a businessman associated with designer and aircraft manufacturer Thomas W. Benoist, stated: “What was impossible yesterday is an accomplishment today, while tomorrow heralds the unbelievable.” He was right; Thursday, January 1, 1914, at about 9:30 am, the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line operated the very first scheduled airline flight, a 23-minutes hop across Tampa Bay that covered 18.6 miles. The first customer was the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Abram Pheil, who paid $400 at auction for the ticket. Tony Jannus piloted the airboat flying just 15 feet above the water. Travel time was greatly reduced, demonstrating that commercial airlines could be successful and a potential market for air travel and transport could be initiated. The 5th of January 1914, Henry Ford head of the Federal Motor Company, introduced a minimum wage scale of $5 per day and reduced the daily worker’s shift from nine to eight hours. In the same year, the assembly line for Ford Model T was introduced. These revolutionary decisions have had an high impact on Americans’ society, not only in terms of the establishment of a middle class, but most importantly of an increased automation of labor which would finally gave people the prospective for a wealthy future.