Compression

by

Widget Layered

Upon arrival at the airport, you find yourself outside, in the open air, with plenty of open space around you as you unload your luggage and make your way inside the terminal. Initially you encounter the ticketing area, compared to the outdoors, you are now enclosed however, the extremely high ceilings and expansive open space to your left and right containing the seemingly never-ending row of ticketing counters and lines of passengers still possesses an open feel.

You have received your boarding pass, checked your luggage, and now you move beyond the ticketing hall into the concourse to begin the trek to your gate. You notice the scale of the airport has shifted once again. Now, as you walk the concourse, you feel more enclosure than before, the expansive ceiling height of the ticketing hall has been lowered and the walls have moved closer to you. With this scale shift, there are a greater number of passengers in your immediate surroundings causing you to begin to feel more compressed and tightened within your own skin.

Your gate is just ahead; you turn off of the concourse and settle into a seat you have located amongst the rows of monotonous black rows of airport seating. Here, in the gate area, the floor covering has changed to carpeting, a softer, more sound-absorbing material, and the ceiling height has yet again been lowered. These factors bring the gate area to a more intimate scale than that of the concourse…you are closer to those passengers who will also fly with you, if not sitting right next to them.

The time has come to board your flight, being herded down the jet bridge, you are uncomfortably close to your fellow passengers, guarding closely your bags and belongings. The tight, eight foot ceiling height and five foot wall to wall distance, creates the most enclosed space you have been in as of yet. As you board the plane and locate your seat, you settle in to two square feet of personal space, bounded by other passengers on either side, shoulder to shoulder.

The final step in this spatial decrescendo of scale brings you to the scale of the body. Now that you are seated in your seat, you bind your legs from calf to ankle as you sit in your seat. In an outfitting similar to the performance of a straight jacket, the constant shift in the scale of the space of the airport has finally concluded by physically binding to the individual. It’s as if the leg binding is a mere addition to the walls and spaces which have been slowly moving closer and closer to you as you move from your auto to your airplane.

Made of a soft, pliable, rubber membrane, the leg binding easily conforms to the shape of your lower legs. The series of strips, all joined together allow each strip to react to a different area of the leg, tailoring each to that specific site. As you remain seated, you experience the highest level of enclosure, one which renders you immobile. The leg binding mechanism capitalizes upon one of the most influential area of the body for, without the ability to move our lower legs, there is little the body can do to move itself. The system works to heighten the intense sensory experience of the airport and serve as its very literal conclusion.

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