HD Video, 2012
With Miguel Santos,
This collaborative project focuses on the TXL Express (bus route) to consider the relation between the city of Berlin and one of its airports – Tegel. In the context of Tegel airport closure, there are a variety of secondary consequences that are worth considering, and among then there is the end of the TXL express.
This collaborative project, between Hondartza Fraga and Miguel Santos, focuses on the TXL Express (bus route) to consider the relation between the city of Berlin and one of its airports – Tegel. In the context of Tegel airport closure, there are a variety of secondary consequences that are worth considering, and among then there is the end of the TXL express. The journey takes place immediately after or before a flying passenger interacting with the airport’s terminals whilst crossing various neighbourhoods and lasting approximately 40 minutes. Its primary function is to connect the city with the airport, however, that function has a dual role – arriving or departing to the airport.
This work was made in response to the project TEGEL – Flights of Fancy, a video project that will be screened in Berlin to mark the closure of Tegel Airport in June 2012. The project is organised by Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Susanne Prinz and Julie Westerman and builds on a series of events, exhibitions and publications that have been realised through cross-cultural collaboration between artists based in the UK and Germany. The event will be hosted by Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz.
The airport is the very embodiment of exchange, a curious place of transition, a portal between two realities embodied in the space beyond the gate. The hours spent in the airport lead us to a ‘non-place’, where we are encouraged to shop to eat to wait – we are caught in limbo. Yet, it remains a realm in its own right, with its autonomy. The anonymous solitude of these non-places offers the transitory occupant the illusion of being part of some grand global scheme: a fugitive glimpse of a utopian city-world.
The closure of Tegel airport marks an important change in the way air travel is organised and experienced. The design of this airport is of a time when flight was associated with glamour, fantasy, technological progress, romantic chance encounters and fictional disasters. The building consists of a large concrete hexagonal structure circumnavigated by a corridor, punctuated with brightly coloured check-in desks. Viewing platforms and executive lounges populate the circumference of the building, inviting the traveller to enjoy a navigable thoroughfare instead of the shed-like enclosure with limited seating. There are commissioned art works, restaurants and bars, cafés and shops. The décor follows the distinctive bright colour schemes of its age all the way through to the plastic sinks and hand dryer in the restrooms.
Tegel Airport is closing and while there are rumours about the next incarnation of this elegant building, what it might become in the future remains uncertain. Tegel: Flights of Fancy encourages speculations both on how this space might be occupied in the future and what in the past it symbolised for the people isolated in West-Berlin. Air travel is hardwired into the imagination, the cinematic (disaster, romance and action movie all in one), and in concepts of cultural mobility, exchange and internationalism. It stands for a time when technological progress still was thought to be human progress and when air travel was still exclusive, although the first signs of its unsustainable nature appeared during the oil crisis of 1973.
The screening will take place in Babylon Cinema in the heart of post-wall Berlin. Built in 1929 as one of the last silent movie theatres it survived the war, and was a favourite cinema under the communist regime, showing a (relatively) daring programme. Today it is famous for comprehensive retrospectives, mixed with the cutting-edge arthouse films, new-release documentaries and a repertory of German classics. It seats 480 people on two levels.
Text from Flights of Fancy