Train stations interact in complex ways with a very wide variety of places – they connect small towns to metropoles, industrial areas to nature, far-away places to ones close by. They create a much wider spectrum of spatial relations, than airports, which are similar in many ways, but focus mainly on connecting the “Global Cities” and places important to the global elite.
Train stations are unique spaces, but at the same time ubiquitous, as nearly every Swiss town has a station, which albeit at a much smaller scale has characteristics similar to the Zurich Main Station. In themselves train stations are never the destination, they are spaces of movement, of transit. Its inhabitants are modern nomads, always on their way to somewhere, always in a rush. As such train stations can be seen as an emblem of the postmodern society with its mobility and flexibility demands on the people.
Using the method of collage in film I collapse these complex spatial relationships that the station creates within the spaces of the Zurich Main Station. Possible destinations for the people walking through the station are implanted in it, raising the question of what would happen if the space of transit became a destination in itself? What would happen if the people rushing somewhere were already somewhere?
The viewer is taken on an imaginary journey through the station, beginning at the underground tracks, which are now adjacent to a canal in Venice and ending at the exit to the Bahnhofstrasse, which is now inhabited by elephants.
The elements implanted into the spaces of the Zurich Main Station have a spatial similarity but are at the same time as surreal as possible to display to the viewer the broad variety of spatial connections. The juxtaposition of the spaces creates a positive tension between the programs and through that also reveals dormant qualities within the spaces of the station itself.
The film is shot from eye level to immerse the viewer and from a fixed point with a fixed focal length in each location to match the perspective of the locations. The sounds recorded at each of the locations are overlaid with each other in order to further immerse the viewer into the imaginary space, in which the noises of the trains are contrasting with the howling of the monkeys in the jungle.
The question of how the indirect relation of the station with all of the places it is connected to shapes it, and its architecture could be asked in a similar way for many other buildings around us. As the world grows more interconnected the context of buildings starts to become much more than its physical neighborhood.