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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Artist as Writer/Airport Choreographer

posted by on August 27 at 9:30 AM

Alex Schweder, this year’s winner of the Genius Award in visual art, is a gifted thinker. He doesn’t have a blog all his own, but he writes regularly on MSN’s Open for design (a blog run by Nate Lippens and Peter Gaucys).

Recently he went on a ride through desire—is it driven by a positive force or by lack? how does it dissolve boundaries between thought and object?

About a month ago, he wrote a nice little piece about airports, which has me thinking, since I’ll be flying to Europe Friday (I won’t be on Slog) to do the the “Grand Tour” of Documenta, the Muenster Sculpture Project, and the Venice Biennale.

Here’s the nugget:

Airports have conflated themselves with malls and art museums to pacify the boredom of their visitors. For the most part, this has worked. As long as the duration any individual spends in this places of passage is only a few hours their needs can be met.

Things break down, though, after a few hours. It seems that at least once a year there is a system failure due to weather or terror that makes our experience of airports last too long and grow stale. Passengers in waiting experience the spaces for hours. After eating what they can, looking through items for purchase, and viewed the publicly funded works of art, they get restless and frustrated. In the end these places that facilitate flow fail at stasis.

With hope of eliminating this frustration, I suggest rethinking the art within these walls. Currently seen as entertainment, these brightly colored works often rub through too many committees and [lose] any edge they might have had. If art could be rethought as action rather than object, stranded passengers would receive instructions for reoccupation of the space they are stuck in that might change both their current malaise and perception of how buildings work.

Imagine what would happen to air travel if Alex Schweder designed airports, or even just the art in them. Have you been to the convention center bathrooms in Tacoma?


RSS icon Comments


Too bad, I heard Documenta was the WORST SHOW EVER (

Posted by Meagan | August 27, 2007 10:09 AM

Smart people bring a book.

24 hours in LAX a couple years back wouldn't have been relieved by touching any goddamn art, I can tell you that.

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