Show and Tell: 03
Flight Simulator by Laurel Schwulst

Opening Laurel Schwulst’s app Flight Simulator is like sinking into a damp cloud. The app replicates the cushioned space for reflection that is flight travel. An endangered, dream-like space where wifi signals and notifications cannot reach. As you start Flight Simulator, you are asked to choose an airport to depart from. You are shown the flights leaving at the moment, but to take off, you must disable your phone’s wifi, and put it in flight mode.


An Iphone rests on a surface with the flight simulator app open, depicting an airplane window. The iPhone reads that the time remaining on the "trip" is 7 hours, 14 minutes, and 42 seconds.

Flight Simulator is a mobile application for iOs and Android. As an ode to airplane mode, it celebrates the best part of air travel: peaceful solitude.

For the duration of a trip — 7 hours to Charles De Gaulle from JFK, 4 hours to LAX, your phone’s screen turns into an airplane window gradine of clouds, sun, and sky. You got the window seat! And if you try to cheat, and connect to the wifi, shame on you — your flight will turn around.

The app was published by Soft and includes algorithmic artwork by Aarati Akkapeddi. For every airport you successfully land at, without breaking your attention span, you receive a virtual pin designed based on the climate, altitude, and time zone of the destination.

A bright iPhone with the flight simulator app open sits face-up on a bed in a dark room.

Soft and Schwulst are releasing a poster of all the collectible pins, available for download through purchase at Left Gallery, Berlin.

Our Special Special test scout took a flight to her favorite place in the world and watched dusk settle outside the airplane window. It even started raining! And productivity did improve, but most notably, every time they reached for their phone, they remembered they were actually in the air on the way to SBP, San Luis Obispo Regional Airport, and all notifications could wait for later. 

Enjoy the work:
Hurry up and catch your flight for only $2 at: or via your app store.

Laurel Schwulst is a designer, writer, and webmaster. She is interested in ambient forms of design and literature, public works, and the poetic potential of the web.


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For Show and Tell, Special Special invites a selection of artists to produce or share work that can be viewed in the browser, downloaded, or streamed. The work is presented as a series of digital exhibitions periodically delivered to email inboxes.

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