Part of the challenge was that of airport architecture itself. Irwin asked me, "Have you ever noticed how there have been hardly any successful airport structures over the past several decades - especially when you compare what's been built with the achievement of railroad architecture toward the end of the last century? Several of those urban train stations with their vaulted interiors were incredible buildings - the garden, the light, the sense of space, the sense of occasion. Trains are wonderfully powerful metaphors - of time and distance and journey, of setting out and return, of anticipation and adventure - and the architecture gloried in all of that. With airports, because most people are actually afraid of flying, I suppose, it's as if the architecture became key to downplaying and disguising, and even masking, the essential nature of the experience. The buildings became nondescript, their interiors like shopping malls, or like living rooms, for God's sake. It was as if the designers were doing everything possible to keep you from seeing the airplanes as they arrived and departed - you almost had to make a special effort. The entries into the plains themselves were completely swallowed in those windowless sheets - you were, in effect, invited to move from one living room into another. God forbid you should notice you'd enter the plane. I mean think about it. Name a single distinguished airport building in the last 20 years. The United terminal in Chicago, maybe. And what's that? It's a railway station!"
(also refer to Brian Eno's Ambient 1: Music for Airports)
What happens to the space that two people occupied together? How can it just disappear? Why can't it just become something else?
Many experimental studies in cognitive psychology have confirmed the important role that spatial boundaries play in event segmentation and memory formation. In short, the architecture of the environment interacts with the architecture of cognition. Contextual information is integrated into memory; how spatial context is structured and how it changes over time influence memory encoding and its effectiveness (Radvansky & Copeland 2006).
Well, here in Japan, we have a concept called ‘yutori,’ and it is spaciousness. It’s a kind of living with spaciousness. For example, it’s leaving early enough to get somewhere so that you know you’re going to arrive early, so when you get there, you have time to look around.
I also don't know if I've ever known where LA actually is. It's somewhat invisible…or perhaps a better way of describing it is…it never really appears. You keep driving and driving and where are you really. Is what's in front of you LA? What's behind you? It starts to look the same at some point. Both LA and New York are lonely places but in different ways. In New York you're alone because everyone is always around you and you're fighting for your internal space. Which can be demoralizing and tiring. In LA you're alone because you can be as far from people as you choose to be, and to be close still involves getting in a car…so how close are you really? I suppose that's America at large. We feel like we're connected and close to one another but it's a terrible lie.
I think my interest in borders is really just a constant awareness of how humans have come to organize the world and give it meaning, and while I’m weirdly moved by our need to do so, I’m also wary of our habit of mistaking the way we organize things, which is a kind of fiction, for the way things truly are.