Since its inception by the Nazi Ministry of Aviation in 1936 to its role in the Berlin Airlift and its current use as a public park, the former Tempelhof airport has been the backdrop to many key events in Berlin’s history. Throughout this history the buildings symbolism has constantly shifted to reflect changing political and social ideologies. Following the refugee crisis of 2015, the Tempelhof was used as an emergency shelter, a role which echoes its use by returning german refugees following WWII. These images reflect on the situation of contemporary refugees within this historical and architectural context, as they wait in the hangars of the Tempelhof, for their asylum applications to be processed.
The use of the Tempelhof as a shelter provokes the impossible question; how could one inhabit an airport? A space designed to relate to the crowd rather than to the individual, to channel movement rather than allow a space to dwell. The parallel between the political place-less-ness of the refugee and the non-place of the empty terminal means that the Tempelhof becomes a metaphor for the condition of permanent transience that many refugees face.
This series is a meditation on this non-place, both physical and psychological- somewhere between past and future, acceptance and refusal, arrival and departure.
This project was made with the support of the Belfast Exposed Futures Programme, the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Project Award and the Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award