Departure Transit Arrival

Gabriela Urrutia Reyes

What denotes a station? What feelings seem to be missing at stations? Which individual traces can be found? How do we deal with being in between places? Are people coming to pick up their beloved ones? To where do all these trains and buses go anyway? Is someone crying? Who are all these people, standing in a line at the platform saying goodbye?

Train and bus stations are characterised by repetitiveness, anonymity and excess of information. The project Departure/Transit/Arrival aims to identify possible interpersonal elements and emotional factors that could contribute to the unique character of a station to encourage users and travellers to become more aware of their surrounding and show each other more empathy.

Can we find alternative ways of interacting and proposals for non-places like stations – functioning as points of connection and transition, which are becoming with each passing day more and more affected by globalization and consumerism?

Non-places, as coined by the French anthropologist Marc Augé, are defined by an excess of events in time, an overabundance of space, and the individualization of references. However, what is really happening when the individual is actually not alone? What happens when two people who share the same story come together in such spaces? Can the moments of welcoming and farewell, which are spotted at the platforms of a station, be considered meaningless – simply a part of the daily rush or by-products of globalization?

The project has been started in Vienna but it is intended to travel abroad to compare stations in different contexts (in terms of weather, culture, population, economies, etc.). How is the experience of transit spaces in different parts of the world? Can there still be more anthropological experiences of travelling found on the other side of the world?

Gabriela Urrutia Reyes


June 2019
Gabriela Urrutia Reyes