How did the race work?

A: Each team represented a Berlin profession (art, startup, ‘suit’ and media). Racers handed off a suitcase baton at their designated gate, each completing one lap around the interior of the airport. Each team was given hats – made by Stickvogel – in the same color so the organizers and film team could identify them. Teams could win time deductions by completing specified challenges, such as inflating a neck pillow while walking. There was also a style section where racers could – and did – impress the judge. The race took place during business hours. On race day, the police were intrigued, but not alarmed. This astounding display of common sense caused many of those involved to reaffirm and publicly proclaim their deep love for Berlin and for Tegel.

Why TXL (Tegel Airport)?

Tegel Airport has a unique architecture based on a hexagon, which allows travelers to reach their starting point after walking in one direction. At the time it was built, TXL was designed for efficient boarding and departure, minimizing the time spent at the airport. The design was outdated quickly as highjacking became fashionable and security checks became a necessity. Today, airports serve as shopping malls and there is hardly an interest in having travelers pass through quickly. (Soon enough) TXL will close. We wanted to celebrate the airport’s modernist belief in speed as a lifestyle with a race that values it.

Why professions?

Often in competitions, teams are formed by affiliations like nationality. This constraint plays on national identity and stimulates peoples’ affinity for players embodying their group. Hence, winning the world cup is bigger than winning the champion’s league, even though the champion’s league may be at a higher playing level.

In the urban landscape, one’s profession is a primary source of identification, in some ways more so than nationality. We invited runners from professions with specific cultural identities, where individuals seem to identify strongly.

Why a movie?

Sometimes one understands more about a place by experiencing its ambience than by looking at it consciously. Tegel Airport provides the ambiance for the race. The movie shows the place shortly before its closure. Through the participants of the race and passersby it also shows the city at a time when decision makers perceive the airport as a constraint to the city’s economic growths. The movie is a snapshot of contemporary life in Berlin and it values the beauty of an outdated vision of the future.

Will there be another race?

The race was conceived for Tegel Airport and its unique qualities. No other airport offers a similar architcture that lends it self to a relay race. TXL is history. If one day there will be an airport in the form of a Great Rhombicosidodecahedron, we may consider another edition with an upgraded set of rules.

Update: Apparently in Berlin progress isn’t that transitional. There may be time for a re-match after all. Stay tuned.