Wednesday, 1 August 2018


Liminality Unlimited - an aside from Art Basel 2018

Basel is booked solid during its annual art fair in June. To get a good deal, you need to arrange it a year in advance. I did, but the accommodation agent cancelled three weeks before Art Basel, due to ‘emergency building works’.  The only option I could find was five nights at an airport hotel which turned out to be not just a tram and bus away from the Fair, but then a 20 minute walk from the airport… Oddly, there was no transfer bus arrangement to the F1 hotel. My diurnal route criss-crossed the non-places of the commercial edgelands.  The 1.5 km route took in: one border crossing (Switzerland to France); one French administrative crossing (Mulhouse to St Louis); two escalators; three flights of steps; six car parks crossed or walked alongside; one passenger tunnel; two bridges; three minor road crossings and one motorway crossing. Along the way on those ten occasions I saw seven planes taking off or landing (actually, I would have expected more); twelve workers, mostly undertaking construction-related activities; and no fellow pedestrians following my route.

Yet all this liminality came close to being a novel sort of interesting. Indeed, many interests could have been satisfied by regular contact with area - day and night.  And photographers have a subject – rare in this age – which may not have been substantially pre-photographed.

Architectural appeal is evident from the get-go.

Various construction practices can be investigated in depth.
Horticulturalists will note some well-judged incursions of cultivated colour.

The ceremony in which cars kiss the kerb is one of several folk traditions still enacted regularly.

Students of semiotics will wish to spend time in the many car parks.
There are banks of wild flora, and of fauna, such as lizards, too fast to photograph.

Aviation enthusiasts will encounter the occasional movement, but this cannot be reckoned a primary attraction.

Car park design can never be prescriptive. Location, usage and growth must all be taken into account.
A feature bridge marks the midpoint of the walk.

Abandoned monoliths evidence civilisations past.

There is space for meditation.

Sculptural-kinetic interplay is powered by natural forces.

A tunnel has been set up, the better to conjure the drama of emergence.

The geometry of the area replays analysis: the relationship of fundamental shapes with organic forms is notably  nuanced.

Some attractions are too alluring to be left unprotected.

Sunsets are beautiful here.

No comments:

Post a comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

About Me

My photo
Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09) and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, Frieze, Photomonitor, Elephant and Border Crossings. I have curated 20 shows during 2013-17 with more on the way. Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.