Aisling McCoy, and live the space of a door

The project “and live the space of a door” is set in Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport and draws on the architectural location of the Tempelhof as well as it’s historic ideologies to explore the conditions of exile and liminality that are symptomatic of the refugee experience. Since its’ inception by the Nazi Ministry of Aviation in 1936 to its current use as a public park and, most recently, as an emergency refugee shelter, the Tempelhof has been the backdrop to many key events in Berlin’s history.

The use of Berlin’s former Tempelhof airport as an emergency refugee shelter provokes an impossible question- how could one inhabit an airport? A space that was designed to relate to the crowd rather than the individual, to channel movement rather than allow a space to dwell. The parallel between the political place-less-ness of the refugee and the non-place of the empty terminal means that the airport becomes a metaphor for the condition of permanent temporality that refugees face. The work is a meditation on this non-place, both physical and psychological- somewhere between past and future, acceptance and refusal, arrival and departure.

The project was made with the support of the Belfast Exposed Futures Programme, the Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award and the TBG+S Project Studio Award, all images ©Aisling McCoy 2018.


Aisling McCoy is an Irish visual artist whose work looks at how we inhabit space. Her background as an architect is central to her practice, which investigates the conflict between architecture as an intellectual concept, created through images, and as a real place. She’s particularly interested in the ideological aspect of inhabitation, and the role of both architecture and photography in constructing the ideal. Her exhibition and teaching practice focuses on the physicality of the photograph; both as a method of translating place, and an object which generates its own space of meaning.

Following her graduation with distinction from the MFA Photography programme at the Belfast School of Art in 2015, Aisling’s work has been exhibited internationally. In 2016 she was an invited artist for PhotoIreland New Irish Works at Circulations Festival de la Jeune Photographie, in 2017 she was awarded the Seen Fifteen/ Belfast Exposed Futures Exhibition Award, and is the recipient of the Arts Council Next Generation Award and the TBG+S Project Studio Award.