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December 5 2015 / 865 Saint Marks Ave


CONTINUOUS STATIONARY / : (pronounced “colon”)

Like continuous stationery, the airport processes bureaucratic information and materializes a continuous stream of data. This transitory space manipulates time and filters the movement of bodies and information. In the airport, one is guilty until proven innocent. Identity is established and certified through documentation, scanning, metal detection, and payments, all determined by national and international norms. Such verification regulates the speed at which one passes through the airport. As part of a submission to the Oslo Architecture Triennale, : examined the documents and performances that obstruct mobility—stationary moments: in line; under the technological eyes of the scanner; in front of the immigration booth; at the gate; and in detention.


The duration of the wait—from minutes in a queue to three months in a detention center—is determined by one’s ability to make the agreeable declarations through the machine. In the eyes of the Law, you are only numbers and categories. You are subjected to the prerogative of all power: waiting.


: is a collective workshop on architectural practices and ideas based in New York City. It is a publication and a platform that aims to carve out a space for critical reflection within architecture by interrogating the vocabulary, rhetoric, and boundaries that constitute it. : materializes this discourse into printed records, exhibitions, and architectural interventions.



Passing from public space to airportspace, you undergo a corporeal, body-oriented experience: quantifications of the fluids you use and consume, distorted versions of your naked body, pat-downs, shoelessness, et cetera. Having collectively finished this self-scrutinizing ordeal, you enter with your fellow travelers into the Secure Area full of normative amenities for life support. 


In airports, we encounter our bodies as both subjects with bodily needs and objects to be moved. As subjects, we search for food, bathrooms, temperate environments, smoking areas, prayer areas, breastfeeding rooms, and more. As objects, we are scanned, examined, moved, queued, boarded, seated, and flown. 


Let's temporarily suspend (necessary) critiques of the troubling dystopian politics of the TSA and security culture. What kind of space does the airport offer as a result, and why is it so 'othered', deemed a 'heterotopia'? Could it actually be because airports, after it's done generating zones of seclusion and access, create a spatial environment we don't normally experience or encounter - one that attempts to fulfill all of your bodily needs, an all-in-one programmatic buffet? That is: the Secure Area is what happens in a spatial microcosm isolated from the rest of the outside world; the microcosm grows to develop a simplified, hyper-dense private market of 'amenities', based on what it thinks your body needs. 


Or in other words, airports are Spa Castle, and the TSA pipeline is a ritualistic dance of disrobing/re-robing ourselves from subjects into objects to enter into the robotic, institutional tenderness that the secure area offers.


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