Author: zaraines

BLOG POST 02. RE-ORIENTATION EXCERCISE

As stated in my first post, my ‘favorite’ space is the airport. Dorval airport known today as Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is the busiest airport in Quebec today. “Dorval was a farming community and a resort area until the outset of the Second World War. In 1941 it became the home of the Ferry Command and of a military airport, today’s Montréal International Airport. After the war, this airport was an economic magnet.”(The Canadian Encyclopedia). For many years, Mirabel airport was the main hub for international flights  and was actually created to replace Dorval. Due to distance outside of the city, passengers were forced to commute which was costly and time-consuming rather than efficient. As a result, the airport has been fairly vacant since 2004 and primarily functions for cargo airlines and as a film set. Since, it has become an abandoned space and since last year in November, demolition of the airport began.

Using Henri Lefebvres’ spatial triad, I will attempt to better understand this space. Lefebvre would identify the airport as a produced space through the social practices that came from capitalism. As a space the airport exists for the individual who is free to travel, is mobile, and works within it. Airports are for societies, symbols of globalization, urbanization, civic progress and overall triumph. They are meant to represent the modern era. However, it is important to keep in mind that travel was a privileged not available to all and with this, it held a certain amount of prestige which was glamorized because to take a plane meant you were going places. International airports are not simple additives to a city or country space but rather became their own independent part of that to which would be found on the outskirts of an areas rather than others forms of transport, such as buses, trains and metros in city spaces. As Lefebvre would suggest, the airport was not yet a space of representational or represented space, rather it was strictly spatial practice. Spatial practice is part of the first dimension otherwise known as the ‘perceived space’ of his triad which constitutes ” ensures continuity and some degree of cohesion…this cohesion implies a guaranteed level of competence and a specific level of performance” (p.290).

YUL Montreal Airport / International & USA Arrivals

For myself, the airport is a representational space which I visited often throughout high school
as an inspirational hub for my personal art work. I enjoyed doing a lot of writing and sketching while I spent my time there. I often question how a space with so much standardization and control through all its forms of security, technologies included, why I was never questioned in that space? A family member of mine works at the airport for customs and when I called him up to ask, he laughed and casually said ” probably because you’re white and you’re a girl, a young one then too”. When he said that, I realized I wasn’t some invisible teen in her own world but invisible in this perceived space due to gender, age and the color of my skin, all of which supposedly does not harm or signal danger to the public, although we all know, I like anyone could do evil rather than good.

Obviously, at the time, I was not aware of ‘lived embodied experience’ proposed through Sara Ahmed’s phenomenology of whiteness, she writes ” Spaces acquire the ‘skin’ of the bodies that inhabit them. What is important to note here is that it is not just bodies that are oriented. Spaces also take shape by being orientated around some bodies, more than others”(p.157). This quote by Ahmed, explains exactly how those who work at the airport orient themselves in making decisions involving our safety and the institution. The airport is not an inherently white space, although it may have been when flights were made affordable for all thus it becomes a space of constant reproduction of ideologies which are practiced every day by employees of the airport. Yet, all humans have to go through the same obedience of following instructions, submitting information and baggage and waiting in lines no matter who you are, however depending on who you are this process could be uncomfortable in comparison to a body that inhabits white skin. Once a space of luxury and accomplishments in the past, is now a waiting zone of impersonal people handling. I would like to return to the space in the near future to really experience and confront the space as much as possible.

Works Cited
– Eggebeen, Janna. “Airport Age: Architecture and Modernity in America.”Google Books. ProQuest, 2007, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.
– Ahmed, Sara. (2007) “Phenomenology of Whiteness.” Feminist Theory 8(2): 149-168.
– Lefebrve, Henri. “The Production of Space.” In Gieseking, Jen J. And William Mangold, (Eds.), The People, Place, and Space Reader. (289-293). London: Routledge.
– Lapointe, Pierre Louis. “Dorval”. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto: Historica Canada, 2009. Web. 15 Sep 2009.
– “Inside Montreal’s Abandoned Airport Before It’s Torn Down.” The Huffington Post. N.p., 29 Aug. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.

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Blog Post 1: About Me

    1. Name, brief background and selfie
      My name is Zara Domingues, I am a second-generation Portuguese-Canadian born in Montreal. I am a second year undergraduate student in the Communications Studies department at Concordia University. The program offers to broaden our knowledge of human communication to better understand the world we live in. I really appreciate that this is accomplished through an interdisciplinary environment. Currently, I am enrolled within the sound II practicum course offered in the department.
      Screen shot 2011-09-28 at 4.25.00 PM
      I prefer to study the world around us through slow travel, immersing myself in the culture and engaging with its people. Apart from exploring our planet, my various interests include; intuitive energetics, feminism, organic farming/practices, photography, soundscapes/art, scriptwriting, people watching, humanitarianism, curating and the list goes on…
    2. What do you spend most of your time doing?
      I spend the majority of my time learning whether through academia or involving myself in activities of interest. I enjoy sleeping quite a bit as well!
    3. What is your goal for the class?
      My goal for this class is to learn about the ways that our bodies manipulate a space or co-produce a place depending on whom we are. I would like to sink my teeth into the ways in which we continue to re-produce ideology in terms of our bodies and the spaces we are consciously, if so, creating.
    4. What is one of your favorite spaces? Describe it. Why? How do you use your body to be in that space? What bodies are excluded from that space? Interrogate any of your immediate characteristics of that space (peaceful, belongs to me, historic, etc). Include a link/image/video/etc.
      To begin, I will say that my ‘favorite’ space is very dependent on my mood or space of time in my life but the airport has been a consistent favorite return. Although some airports are more unique than others, I do not have any particular favorite one. Each one has its own design for numerous reasons but still, they manage to carry similarities from lighting to walkways, washrooms to consumer stands to arrival and departure gates. However, it is not the physical space that attracts me as much as the internal space of an airport. The emotions shared and observed at an airport are beautiful. We can encounter the unease of certain travellers or excitement, the sadness of a goodbye, or the happiness of a return. The airport is a hub of stories and cultures being exchanged and explored. For anyone like me, who loves to observe and explore, the airport is bliss. Not to mention, airports are never empty or closed which makes you think ‘somewhere’ can be found whenever you may need. The magic of time and space experienced from airports is very unique.

      Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978)
      “1/1” composed by Robert Wyatt and Rhett Davies with Brian Eno. Link found below:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d81G9W8pEno

    5. What are the five things faculty do that make learning hard? & what are the five things faculty do that make it easy to learn?
      (+)
      1. The online resources and multiple databases available from Concordia’s Library is impressive and very useful.
      2. When a variety of options are available for assignments and projects. This way students can engage in and create work in a way they feel most comfortable.
      3. When consistent feedback is available from the teacher.
      4. When teachers offer a variety of mixed media to engage students differently.
      5. When a teacher provides full support, encouraging attitude and offers reliable contact information.
      (-)
      1. Assigned readings are often complex and lengthy which prevents true comprehension of concepts that are necessary to grasp the theory.
      2. Lack of clarity and detail on assignments that worth a large percentage of our grade(s)/ marking scheme seems unbalanced
      3. Lectures can be lengthy and dry without much variety offered considering each of us learns differently.
      4. The attitude is much too competitive which I find extremely unhealthy, humans create and work best together not apart.
      5. Expectations seem surreal at times considering the reality of students lives (work, multiple courses, health, personal lives etc.)