What airports and forests have in common?
1) they have a lot of space
2) people move through airports and forests on their way to somewhere else, only in extreme circumstances staying there longer than necessary
3) both – forests and airports – provide the traveling humans with mushrooms/berries or other duty free goods.
Recently I had a privilege to move through 3 airports. Each had something different to offer. First, the early morning Riga Airport (RIX) reminded me of a nightly forest, note the vertical lines and underbrush along the edges:
Then I noticed something so striking I almost fainted:
A bear’s hide in Riga Airport! How wild!
On the closer examination it turned out this was an illustrative material to Latvia’s Customs Warning about contraband goods.
Do not cross Latvia’s border with a bear hide. It would beset with worry the 3 bears left in Latvia’s forests. Nobody in Latvia wants those 3 bears in their hair.
Do not enter Latvia with corrals, especially the ones shaped as a dildo. Latvian males are not know for the size of their reproductive organs, they deserve to have a chance without unfair competition.
If you have killed your enemies and made a purse out of their skin, you must leave the purse at home, wherever your home is. Latvia will provide you with locally made enemies.
It is known that Latvia doesn’t have alligators. Still, the local lizards have an ambition to grow in size and ferocity. It would be a really bad idea to bring alligator DNA to Latvia since no one knows how far advanced Latvian lizards are in cloning and genetic modification technology. Leave your alligator/piton shoes at home!
Then an airplane took me to Copenhagen Airport (CPH). The propellers cut through gray unwelcoming sky, landing the plane safely:
A lot of airports from outside look like bunkers cast in concrete. Are investors and architects afraid of an airplane accidentally bumping into the construction? Or will the airport serve as the final fort for the rich and trendy when the poor and hungry start breaking the doors to their palaces?
From inside it looked as if Copenhagen Airport was trying to conceal the austerity of the bunker. As usual, someone had an idea that art can perk up the grayness, just like perfume covers up the body odor. But the Eternal Question remains: is Airport Art an Art? Look at this slab of stained glass surrounded by plants that look like Cannabis Sativa from afar. Is this supposed to enthrall me? A stain on the face of an airport.
More stained/strained glass, this one, though, is in surroundings that again remind me of a forest:
Meanwhile, there are places in Copenhagen Airport that cash in on happy animals. PETA would love this, they don’t know that bad taste is a crime in other circles:
Then, accidentally I spotted something above an exit door that reminded me of animation:
I pulled closer:
Is THIS art? Maybe (I am biased towards anything animated). But it finds itself in a strange context. Who (Duchamp?) said that anything can be art if it is in a context of a museum or gallery? In that case an art in airport ceases to be art.
Then finally, the Inevitable Airport Money Bowl. Leave here the currency (Euro, kronor, lats etc) you don’t want/need anymore. The Bowl promises to save the children with that money, as if few coins had that kind of power – to save children from bad parenting, bad TV, great drugs and obesity.
An airplane takes me to Newark International Airport (EWR). From the moment I exit the airplane I am bombarded with warnings NOT TO TAKE PICTURES. Hide your cell phones! Put away your cameras! You are in USA now!
The most powerful country on earth, what are you so afraid of? It is just a camera, just a picture.
I am afraid too, from getting arrested or frisked or loosing the sweet pics taken in Euro Airports. I hide the camera, get my 50 pound bag and walk out of the airport.