Reimagining the journey: A visual symphony of sustainable business travel by rail

What do business travellers think when travelling by train?
Commissioned by the Travel Smart campaign, the artists Lola Perrin and Rob La Frenais travelled 6,500 kilometres across Europe’s railways interviewing business travellers on their choice of rail over plane for their work trips.
The result is an audiovisual piece entitled “Let the Birds Have the Skies” gathering the anonymous responses accompanied by a musical composition by Lola Perrin.
Rob La Frenais also tells the story of the experience in a captivating article.

Watch the trailer

Quotes from the journey

“My preference is always the train over a plane because I feel like I’m really in the country and experiencing it while I’m travelling.”

 

“I’d love to travel by road or train any day because I’d love to enjoy the scenery along the ride rather than fly and emit more carbon.”

 

“Instead of getting up at 4am to catch a 7:30am flight somewhere, I’m prepared and my colleagues as well to travel by train overnight if the night coach is nice and if you get a nice breakfast. You arrive fresh and well rested instead of stressed because you’re up already since 4am.”

Exhibition & Live Performance

The first public presentation of the ‘Let The Birds Have The Skies’ project by artist and curator team Lola Perrin and Rob La Frenais took place on the 19th and 20th of September 2023 at Gare Maritime, Tour & Taxis, Brussels. 

It was presented as a two-screen installation in which participants (mainly business travellers) could see the stop-motion audiovisual piece. We had a large screen showing the trailer for the project, souvenirs of the artists’ voyage by train across Europe, comment books and a video camera set up to record participants’ reactions.

The installation was accompanied by live piano concerts by Lola Perrin throughout the day. 

Rob La Frenais explains the full experience and the results from the exhibition in this article

 

Quotes from the exhibition

“I would like my company to prefer train over plane for our international and national events and fairs.”

“For national and regional travel the default is always the train!”

“Stop travelling unnecessarily – Why travel around the world when we have a virtual world? – Stop spending your company’s money for little or no reason”.

“Commuting and business travel should be by train, the company should encourage it. I will be willing to travel by train distances between 800-1000km, but the train fares need to be more affordable. Governments should take action to make trains more accessible and affordable”.

“Trains are sexy, planes are trashy. Trains allow us to connect to watch the scenery and with people and places. Planes may be fast but are so stressful, and take a lot of time that we don’t account for!”

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