A. Manguel’s and G. Guadalupe’s encyclopedia of fantasy lands from world literature Dictionary of Imaginary Places, presents over 1,200 entries of imaginary cities, islands, countries and continents. Xanadu, Ruritania, Shangri-La, Atlantis, Utopia, Oz and Wonderland, are just some of the fantastical places for the reader to mentality traverse. Cibic’s Dictionary of Imaginary Places calls our attention to notions evoked through representations of these invented sites. It is a metafiction that infiltrates an authoritative representation of factual information to reveal the embedded desires these truths share with fiction.

Dictionary of Imaginary Places was Cibic’s first in the series of interventions carried out at Brnik Airport, Slovenia’s only international airport. The country’s recent entry into the EU meant an increase to its air traffic, and in 2006, expansion work began at the airport. With expansion comes the redesign of infrastructure producing changes in the airport visitor’s experience. During the redesign, Cibic, in collaboration with the airport’s engineers, uploaded a unique computer program to the airport’s information systems. This replaced all titles of actual destinations displayed on the departures/arrivals board, with fictitious destinations from the Dictionary of Imaginary Places. This intervention happened with no prior notification to the public, when the passengers were waiting for the last flight of the day for Istanbul. The software Cibic used to transform information into dis-information, is the same program that now controls the growing database of actual places being fed to the departures/arrivals board at the airport.

The contemporary traveler must submit to the jurisdiction of an international airport and is compelled to trust its logic. In this space, the facts of the business of making a journey are interwoven with the aspirations associated with travel. The departures/arrivals board presents a live record of from where to where those aspirations are bound. Cibic’s playful insertion of the mythological within this factual narrative is a gesture that reveals the fictional heart to the act of consumptive traveling.


Michelle Deignan