Then we went in search of somewhere to stay the night
Ashkan Sepahvand with Azin Feizabadi and Sohrab Mohebbi
“Why do the majority of flights depart or arrive from Tehran in the middle of the night?” This is a book that is- part useless timetable, part counterfeit passport, part mundane travelogue, part rush-delivery document. The airport sets the scene for our comings and goings. The time is night. Our eyes are bloodshot, our bodies are tense, our minds are not yet there. The trip is nothing more than a transition from one point to another, though the transfer is never complete. Although the time, the location and the language may change, is the translation, that act of "carrying over", ever truly successful? Our association with airports is a mixed bag of sweetness, bitterness and boredom - the joys of coming back "home" (where is home?), the sadness of saying goodbye to a place you know will never be the same again, the endless, frustrating hours stuck in transit, the fear of losing one's memory altogether. We are not alone in our comings and goings; we are accompanied by goods circulating in a system of import and export and carried in cargo; by information, and knowledge distributed and arriving through air mail; by contraband, smuggled covertly in bags, bodies and boxes. How can we interpret this non-space? What guess work needs to be done when staring out into space as the plane approaches landing, as one waits in the departure hall and observes the activity taking place all around, as the heart beats when immigration officials scan one's passport? "Where do you come from?" a most oppressive question! We are concerned with the language of airports, spoken in the night, murmured, grumbled, impatient: our task as translators is doomed, all we can do is interpret the material at hand, the memories that linger, and the flashes of light in the darkness that signal us toward an unknown destination.