Name Withheld

MDes

Departing Departures: Mapping the Hong Kong International Airport as a Spatial-Political Threshold of the City in the Post-National-Security-Law Era

Advised by Malkit Shoshan

The second return of Hong Kong marks the end of “one country, two systems.” With it comes a displacement of the city’s population, like the brain drain that prompted the Berlin Wall erection. The Hong Kong airport becomes a precarious spatial-geopolitical threshold over which the specter of a second Cold War looms. The Norman Foster architectural and engineering marvel, once a symbol of pride signifying Hong Kong’s free and open society, now devolves into a set of fragile pearly gates that struggles in its promise to provide egress to the world beyond. The thesis probes the air terminal for the underlying sociopolitical, historical, and psychological vectors that converge at this increasingly critical border crossing. Peeling away the physical veneer, it seeks to deconstruct the spatial-perceptual stench for the underlying caries. It probes the realm of the intangible of border-architectural spatial experiences in an age when telaesthesia perpetuates traumas, and traumas foreshadow memories of the future. The tangibles of the monumental are pitted against the intangibles of the feeble. In the manner of an autopsy, the immersive game medium would be experimented as a tool to externalize the departed’s afterlife as well as honor its unfulfilled glamours, shortchanged by arrivals long predicted.

A photograph of several airline boarding passes for international flights to and from Hong Kong. Names and most details are blacked out. A portion of a document titled “Bag identification tag card” appears behind. Reminders to arrive early for immigration processing are shown.

Line drawing of a flow map of objects, with the title, “A Game Journey - transformed from the Airport Departure Hall.”

Image of a large boulevard with a person standing off against multiple tanks, reminiscent of an iconic photo from Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Behind this person is a traveller wearing a backpack.

A traveller wearing a backpack and pulling a rolling suitcase waling in a landscape with jagged piles of items and objects.

A traveller wearing a backpack and pulling a rolling suitcase walks down a city street past a line of riot police facing off against civilians on their knees or standing with arms held out.

A collage of images and drawings showing different baggage items passing through the baggage conveyer belt system, with the words, “Tracing Baggage/Memories.”