From August 12 – September 5, 2021, the sound festival Sonambiente took over Berlin’s recently decommissioned Tegel Airport (TXL) with various sound-based installations made specifically for the airport’s corridors, gates, and waiting rooms. Although the airport saw its final flight in November 2020, and was fully decommissioned in May 2021, the building has remained relatively intact, though informational signs and installed businesses (such as in-terminal restaurants) have been deconstructed and some of the exterior facades have begun to show signs of wear. (Read our article on Park Books’ recent architectural history of the airport here.)
A missing piece of the tessellated triangular roof outside the main terminal now offers a prime spot for pigeons to nest.
Phantom wiring is all that remains of many of the airport’s former wayfinding signs.
Sound-based works by Blixa Bargeld, Laurie Anderson, Emeka Ogboh, Susan Philipsz, and others broadcast from hidden speakers as visitors make their way through the abandoned building, moving from the interior to the exterior of the main hexagonal structure while circling the terminal. Some smaller inner rooms, now devoid of any clue as to their former purpose, feature smaller video-based installations with private headphones and VR headsets.
Blixa Bargeld’s piece “Hexagon”, which ran in a continuous loop of approximately 15 minutes, took place in the airport’s main (hexagonal) terminal. The installation consists of parodic announcements – urgent messages for long-dead cultural figures, flights to mythical destinations – read by Bargeld in both German and English, and punctuated with tonal accents that transition into slow, moody piano compositions.
Read more about the festival on the official website.