|Above image and below: No buses, no taxis, no hustle or bustle: Marco Polo Airport this past Tuesday at mid-day|
The philosopher Martin Heidegger famously suggested that the thingness of a hammer--the fact of it as an object made of specific materials--is typically only recognized when it has broken, and can no longer be used. Maybe something similar can be said about an airport: we can only really see it when it's not functioning as intended, as a hub of arrivals and departures, of unending circulation. Or at least that's how it struck me at the beginning of this week, when the need to renew our son's US passport made us board an empty Alilaguna airport-bound water bus, which delivered us to an almost completely empty Marco Polo Airport with time to kill before our appointment.
There were just four departing flights listed on the electronic boards at the water transportation docks and the usual interior route to the gates through the covered elevated walkway completed in 2017 was closed. As in the old days we trekked outdoors to the terminal, and once there we found that our idea of passing time inside it was not going to work out: entrance to any part of the building was forbidden to anyone without an airline ticket.
My wife and son returned to wait near the the American micro-consulate by the water departure docks and I stuck around to take the images you see here, realizing that I was, for the first time, seeing the airport as its architects had at some point pictured it, as empty forms--and as the thousands whose livelihoods depend upon it surely never wanted to see it.