RAF / Reduce Art Flights
is a campaign which implores that the art world—artists, curators, critics, gallerists, collectors, museum directors, etc.—could or should diminish its use of aeroplanes. It was initiated by the artist Gustav Metzger
(1926–2017) on the occasion of the artist’s participation in Skulptur Projekte Münster 07
(Sculpture Projects Muenster 07) in 2007, where it consisted of the distribution of 5,000 leaflets whose design was based on a 1942 Royal Air Force poster detailing the aerial bombardment of Germany during the Second World War.
The website reduceartflights.lttds.org
(originally at reduceartflights.com) was established in 2008 by Latitudes, with the blessing of Metzger, as an extension of the reactivation of the RAF initiative as part of the exhibition ‘Greenwashing
. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities’ at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy. RAF Torino consisted of the printing of a new version of the leaflet, made available in the exhibition and inserted into international mailings.
The website is now maintained as a research resource for the initiative and includes a 2008 audio interview
with Metzger, documentation of subsequent iterations
and a bibliography
. The RAF acronym deliberately echoes the Royal Air Force as well as the militant left-wing group known as the Red Army Faction. RAF is neither a work of art, nor an idea over which Metzger claimed ownership or leadership. Yet by initiating it, Metzger suggested the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra of environmentalism be transformed and integrated into a more radical understanding of humanity’s destructive potential. RAF invites voluntary abandonment—a fundamental, personal, bodily rejection of technological instrumentalisation and a vehement refusal to participate in the mobility endemic to the globalised art system.