crossing the border



As a transitory passenger I found myself at Schiphol airport in Holland. In order to progress to my chosen destination it was necessary for me to undergo a final security check before boarding a plane. While waiting at the checkpoint I noticed a small gap between the top of a glass wall and the ceiling; a design feature that visually and physically described the space beyond as forbidden, unless undergoing a rigorous and systematic inspection. This barrier silently ushered passengers into a security process, the visible force of the glass ensuring there could be no deviation from authoritative procedure. I became fascinated by this aspect of non-verbal language; a muted, coercive discourse negating human speech or gesture.

After some further thought I returned to Schipol airport to create a performance centered on this typical and familiar example of a policed border control. In a mischievous, childlike gesture I aimed an ordinary rubber band with my fingers and fired it at the gap between the glass and the ceiling. I repeated this action several times, without attracting the attention of the border guards. The bands that landed on the other side testified to a quiet transgression; a breaking of the border.

Schipol Airport, Amsterdam

April, 2010

Photo 1: Sinead O’DONNELL