karolina halatek's luminous installation terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences

karolina halatek's luminous installation terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences

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terminal in tirana: a transcendental journey from dark to light

 

Karolina Halatek’s Terminal in Tirana is an immersive light sculpture on permanent display in front of the Mother Teresa Hospital in Albania. Drawing inspiration from the profound recollections of patients encountering near-death experiences, the site-specific installation creates a space where art, spirituality, and science intersect. It is composed of a single polyethylene cylinder illuminated from within by solar-powered LED neons, inviting visitors to step into an otherworldly experience reminiscent of those near-death experiences — a transcendental journey through a dark tunnel towards an enveloping, radiant light. Accessible from both sides the installation, placed as a crown jewel at the center of the landscaped site, invites viewers to immerse themselves in the transformative power of light, offering a glimpse into what might lie at the threshold of life.

karolina halatek's luminous terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences
all images by Ilir Tsouko

 

 

karolina halatek crafts a meditative respite

 

Terminal in Tirana offers a contemplative space reaching further than an art installation; it is a meditation on life, death, and the persistence of consciousness. Artist Karolina Halatek roots the artwork in echoing common experiences recorded in the databases of the Near-Death Research Foundation (NDRF), adding a profound exploration of human consciousness and mortality to the stunning visual spectacle. Situated at the entrance of the University Hospital Center Mother Teresa, the work gains an added layer of significance, resonating with those contemplating life’s fragility and the mysteries beyond.

 

This approach is also reflected in the site’s transformation which has been designed by architects Elian Stefa and Dea Buza to create a variety of moments of intimacy and pause. While analyzing the location, the presence of three relevant elements for the site were identified: the trees and vegetation already present, the curved wall to the north of the site, and the pedestrian sidewalk. The landscape on which the artwork is placed presents itself as a playful group of circular shapes of varying sizes, spanning from the curved wall element, until the parking of the hospital to the south, like an archipelago in between a surface of natural grass. Through this strategy, the principal aim is to minimize the impact on the surrounding presence of nature, by not only preserving all of the trees, plants and vegetation already present in the site, but also by adding to the surface of grass-covered space in this small urban environment. 

karolina halatek's luminous terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences
Karolina Halatek presents Terminal in Tirana

 

 

the sculpture sits in dialogue with the site’s landscaping

 

The sidewalk is split in two paths: one remaining straightforward and functionally quick through the space, with the other taking a more indirect flow towards encountering the artwork which lies at the center of the site. Ultimately, a minimal artificial geological transformation also presents the possibility of more intimate spaces of pause and intimacy in an urban setting characterized by troublesome moments and difficult emotions. By moderately shaping the topography while keeping in mind the ergonomics of the human body, this small space previously used exclusively for transit becomes a possible location for a moment of peace.

 

Another goal of the landscape intervention is to symbolically separate the artwork and the audience from the acoustic and visual noise of the pedestrian level. By removing surrounding clutter and lightly elevating the artwork from the ground, it gains a more dominant role in the nearby visual landscape. The light of the artwork then takes the essence of a lighthouse, guiding wandering souls towards a moment of presence and inner peace. Furthermore, the axis on which Terminal in Tirana is positioned, is independent from the axis of the urban fabric; separating the object from the infrastructure of the city and raising its sculptural presence.

karolina halatek's luminous terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences
an immersive light sculpture

karolina halatek's luminous terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences
Karolina Haletek draws inspiration from the recollections of patients encountering near-death experiences

karolina halatek's luminous terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences
a single polyethylene cylinder is illuminated from within by solar-powered LED neons

karolina halatek's luminous terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences
an enveloping, radiant light offers a glimpse into what might lie at the threshold of life

karolina-halatek-terminal-in-tirana-designboom-2

luminous terminal in tirana draws on near-death experiences
on display in front of the Mother Teresa Hospital in Tirana, Albania

terminal in tirana luminous public art installation inspired by near death experiences 9
the site’s transformation by Elian Stefa and Dea Buza creates a variety of moments of intimacy and pause

terminal in tirana luminous public art installation inspired by near death experiences 10

karolina-halatek-terminal-in-tirana-designboom-3
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