Beyond all the romantic notions I hold of airports, there is a darker underbelly I have become increasingly conscious of. In a time of globalisation and mass travel, airports are also a No Man’s Land, where freedom of movement can be upended in the name of national security.
The airport is a battleline in issues around globalisation, state security, and individual freedom. It's a site where the politics of race and class play out. On election day, Murdoch Stephens chairs a panel discussion about the airport and border control.
At 2pm, prior to the panel discussion, we will screen Zia Mandviwalla’s award-winning short film Night Shift. In it, Salote, an airport cleaner, starts another long night shift. She keeps her head down, does her job, and gleans her survival from what others leave behind. No one would usually spare her a second glance.
In association with Terminal.
Mohamed Hassan is an award-winning journalist and poet from Auckland and Cairo. He was the 2015 National Poetry Slam Champion, a TEDx fellow, and represented New Zealand at the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2016. In 2017, he was awarded the Gold Trophy at the New York Radio Awards for his RNZ podcast series Public Enemy. His new poetry collection National Anthem will be released in October by Dead Bird Books and is available for pre-order. Read his Newsroom essay Border Patrol: A Muslim’s Story.
Zia Mandviwalla is a Zoroastrian by birth, who grew up in the Middle East and moved to New Zealand in 1996. A writer-director, her delicately crafted narratives tell stories of people who exist on social peripheries—outsiders searching for their place in the world. Night Shift premiered at Cannes in 2012. Recently she ventured into documentary, with episodes of the Emmy-nominated Netflix Original series Chef’s Table and the Netflix Original show Home Game. She lives and works in Auckland and Los Angeles.
Murdoch Stephens works across arts, academia, and activism. He is the author of a book on the advocacy campaign he founded, Doing Our Bit: The Campaign to Double the Refugee Quota (BWB Texts, 2018), and a novel about the property portfolio of the little mammal that lives in your compost bin, Rat King Landlord (Lawrence and Gibson, 2020).