Smarter Air Travel: Design Approaches for Global Travelers

swissnex San Francisco and SFAI take a look at global mobility and airports through the lenses of art, science, design, and architecture.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


October 21, 2011 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)

swissnex San Francisco and the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) continue their joint program of events around Think Art – Act Science with an interdisciplinary look at contemporary global mobility through one of its main veins—airports.

The theme is explored through psychology, sociology, architecture, and design by artist Monika Codourey, whose work is featured in the Think Art- Act Science exhibition, SFAI’s Hou Hanru, and IDEO’s Gretchen Wustrack, who presents the Palo Alto-based design firm’s “TSA Checkpoint Evolution” project.

Codourey’s work in Think Art – Act Science examines the emergence of practices that influence patterns of movement within transportation systems, such as surveillance, social sorting, biometric authentication, etc. Her interactive online project Mobile Identities is part of a scientifically inspired investigation to assess the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral states of air travelers. And her research slideshow, Constant Traveler Syndrome, as well as video essay, Airport Transportation Condition, elaborate on Codourey’s empirical data and reflect upon the spatiality of the airport environment and emotional interactions with it.


6:30 pm  doors open
7:00 pm  presentations
7:45 pm  panel discussion followed by Q&A
8:30 pm  reception and networking
9:30 pm  doors close


Monika Codourey

was born in 1966 in Warsaw, Poland, and now lives in Zurich, Switzerland. She worked as an architect in the United States, Canada, and Germany before settling in Switzerland in 1998. She holds a degree in architecture from the University of British Columbia and pursued postgraduate studies in Information Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) in the Department of Architecture. Codourey has lectured in the filed of Urban Media and Information Spaces at the New Media Faculty of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the Z-Node of the Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth, and at the Institute for Cultural Studies (ICS) at ZHdK.


Gretchen Wustrack

is a Project Lead at IDEO, working across such industries as health and wellness, entertainment, travel, and retail goods for clients such as Gillette, HBO, Lilly, QVC, Scandinavian Airlines, and Timberland. She takes a holistic approach to design and prefers solutions that create meaningful user experiences and robust businesses. Recent projects include a mass-market home storage and organization system, a start-up cross-platform entertainment business, an in-flight food service experience, a light-based hair-prevention system, and a brand strategy for a footwear company. Gretchen also has been leading IDEO’s Adherence work, helping clients and teams diagnose a system’s adherence hurdles and the opportunities for design. She is currently exploring how the principles can be applied to design challenges outside the world of health care. Gretchen holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in industrial design from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University.


Hou Hanru

is Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of the Exhibitions and Museum Studies program at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). A prolific writer and curator, he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Central Institute of Fine Arts in Beijing, where he was trained in art history, with additional work in painting, performance, installation, and architectural research. He is also a consultant for several cultural institutions including the Global Advisory Committee of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Contemporary Art Museum in Kumamoto, Japan.

Described as a significant international voice on cultural differences, Hanru is the French correspondent for Flash Art International and a regular contributor to several other journals on contemporary art including Frieze, Art Monthly, Third Text, Art and Asia Pacific, Domus, Atlantica, Texte Zur Kunst, and Tema Celeste. His recent curatorial projects include the sixth Lyon Biennial (2009), the10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007), and many more. He is one of the first curators and thinkers to examine postmodern issues of nomadic identity, hybridity, globalized mobility, what he calls “in-betweeness,” and artists living in the diaspora.


Gareth Ashley

Gareth has worked at the intersection of design and technology for two decades. He specializes in the integration of technology into the built environment with particular focus on supporting passenger processes in air, rail and multimodal terminals. Gareth has provided consultation and design services on major airport projects around the globe, including JFK, LAS, SFO, YYZ, and DXB and provided technology and security services for rail terminals in London, New York and the Bay Area. He joined Arup in 2001.
The San Francisco installation of Think Art – Act Science is made possible by Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council and is a project of the U.S.-wide program ThinkSwiss-Brainstorm the Future. As a leading country in science, research, and technology, Switzerland is working with its American counterparts to address key global topics such as sustainability to better understand trends and arrive at solutions.


Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos