Dale Holmes

Gary Simmonds

Landing at Tegel/

Concrete (Fata Morgana)

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Landing at Tegel/Concrete

(Fata morgana) is a video

work which references the

opening scene of Werner

Herzog’s Fata Morgana (1971)

and the physical architecture

of Tegel airport and in particular

its Hexagonal terminal

building.

The video is an assemblage of

six pieces of footage showing

planes coming in to land

at Tegel Airport, Berlin. All the

footage is shot from seats

above the wing, the viewfinder 

trained upon the wingtip, as

taken from existing material

uploaded to YouTube by air

travel enthusiasts. Re-filmed,

these video sequences have

an analogue quality that

serves to objectify the image.

The focus on the aeroplanes’

wing drag devices moving on

the planes descent echo the

geometrical complexity of

the architectural structures.

This is compounded by the

grainy, solarised and saturated

surfaces of the piece, echoing

textures and surfaces of the

terminal building – the gaudiness

of the duty free shop, the

Tommy Hilfiger outlet and the

billboard-sized watch adverts.

The aviation enthusiast’s

obsessive eye for technology

and detail is denied through

processes which abstract and

disrupt.

These sequences are interspersed

with six still images of

the overlooked and contingent

details of the airport’s architecture,

an architectonic structure

that acts to punctuate

the temporal flow of the flight

sequences and introduce a

fixed spatial disruption that

draws to an end the fantasy of

escape and liberty associated

with air travel and movement

in late capitalism.

These moments of coming in

to land and the concrete walls

of the still images are suggestive

of an end or final phase

– the closure of an airport – in

which any romanticised image

of air travel as an idealised

escape is made redundant by 

the crushing realism of having

our feet on the ground.