miércoles, 12 de enero de 2011

A text from Caroline Aulis.

An airport: it is a conglomeration of all cultures, and yet devoid of culture at the same time. Nowhere else in the world does a place like this exist. It is ironically sterile; it is a place of floating bodies, of people in limbo, a place where everyone is waiting to be somewhere else. It is a place of contradictions. There is life here and yet no life; it is stripped of spontaneity and replaced by predictability, control, and certainty. It is a non-place. It is dead-time. It is the ultimate waiting room. And yet it is a center of contemporary culture.

It is the only space in which people across the globe share in the same routine, follow the same rules, and are part of the same process. It is a bizarre culture within itself that we are all citizens of. Airports are unified in their structure, expectations, and flow. It is a place that we can navigate through, whether we are in Chicago or Hong Kong.

Some call airports their home and live a nomadic life, finding comfort in this transitory atmosphere, while others frequent them a couple times a year. Regardless, we travel frantically through airports, even if we have done the routine hundreds of times before. We worry about finding our gate, passing through security, making sure we have the right sized suitcase and proper traveling materials. And yet it is possible to find refuge in the craziness of this place, because for a moment we can forget about our anxieties or expectations of where we are heading or what we are leaving behind, and we can find comfort in the predictable routine laid out for us.

Still, we are merely bodies being ushered from location to location. No one cares how we feel; if we are nervous to go somewhere new, if we are sad to say goodbye to a loved one. We are guided through the motions, and the only concern of those in charge is to get us from point A to point B.

Everyone is out of their element in an airport; no one is in their own environment. The handsome Italian man sipping a cappuccino in Milan loses his essence as he is removed from his space, and thrown in amongst everyone else. He becomes just another body traveling through. An airport is a place where identity is scrutinized thoroughly, and also shed like a snakeskin. We become anonymous and homogeneous. The hairdresser from Phoenix is no different than the gallery owner from Basel sitting next to her. Their differences become invisible. We become just another face and another voice.

The speed at which we now travel has squeezed our time to adjust, when there used to be time to arrive. We live in a world where we can have dinner in New York and breakfast in Paris. What happens when we jump so quickly from place to place? Our bodies might be in a new environment, but our minds can’t move so fast; we struggle to make sense of a new place with new social cues and customs.

I am intrigued by the fact that we lose our identities in an airport, yet peoples’ stories and backgrounds are vastly different one from another. It is as if we float in time and space, waiting for something, waiting to be somewhere. We enter a place that is full of life and culture and yet is empty. Sterile. How is that possible?

Caroline Aulis

she write about herself: I am a senior in the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, currently working on my thesis. I recently did extensive research on the airport because of my interest in culture shock and our relationships to our respective environments. I am fascinated by the "limbo" quality of the airport, and the fact that it is the quintessential waiting room as we travel from one culture to another.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario