Psychoanalysis of the International Airport

Stéphane Degoutin et Gwenola Wagon

Livre et installation


The international airport is the place of all contradictions : the promise of freedom comes up against body checks, the desire for unlimited traffic comes up against generalised surveillance, dreams of foreign destinations vanish in the face of the omnipresent terrorist threat, the thirst for consumption comes up against inaccessible products. The airport combines contemporary fears and desires. The psychoanalysis of this laboratory place of modernity deploys in an edition and an installation.

Front cover of the 369 edition, 2018
Inside pages of the book
Pages from the 2016 edition

Psychoanalysis of the International Airport is a collection of reflections, speculations and stories obtained from what the international airport itself tells. It draws its material from anecdotes, images, archives and quotations gleaned from the Internet and elsewhere. These fragments are arranged as a spatial and critical journey that explores the neuroses, fantasies, taboos and desires of this place.

With its promise of absolute control, it is the place par excellence of repression and taboo. Layered with prohibitions, it gives rise to a great deal of speculation, particularly around the threat of attacks. Any danger, whether fictitious or real, takes on considerable proportions. Ordinary objects such as bottles of water or body creams, illicit objects linked to drug and cash trafficking, behaviour considered abnormal, people – stateless, refugees or illegal immigrants – and diseases, viruses or bacteria are also banned.

The international airport is full of contradictions. It promises global traffic, but forms a hermetic space. It promises modernity, but faces the threat of terrorism. It promises consumption, but favours inaccessible products.

In context at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport
"Terminal P" exhibition, La Panacée, Montpellier, 2016
"Aéroport : Ville monde" exhibition, Gaîté lyrique, Paris, 2017

A primary version of Psychoanalysis of the International Airport edition was produced in 2016, on the occasion of the exhibition "Terminal P" at La Panacée, in Montpellier. The installation consisted of a large table on which were placed the pages of a book conceived with graphic designer Louise Drulhe. Each leaflet presented a pathology of the airport.

The project was an extension of the Terrorism Museum, an imaginary dispositif from 2009.

« The work is stunning, 'scotchy'. Many visitors spend long moments sitting on stools flipping through the work [...] The unadorned staging, the surgical precision of the vocabulary used, the minimalist and bland gestures of the actor during the visit to the Roissy terminal, his placidity in evoking potential and/or improbable threats reinforce the measured dramaturgy of the piece... » Sylvie Groueff. « Terminal P, lieu d'expérimentation de la paranoïa sécuritaire », blog Mediapart, 7 août 2016.


Thierry Paquot, “Psychanalyse de l'aéroport international, de Stéphane Degoutin et Gwenola Wagon”, Esprit, décembre 2018

Regine, “Psychoanalysis of the International Airport”, We make money not art, 20 juillet 2018

Julie Ackermann, “Pourquoi les artistes sont-ils obsédés par les aéroports ?”, Beaux-arts magazine, octobre 2018

Marie-Laure Desjardins, La méthode de Franck Bauchard est le message”, Arts Hebdo Médias, 2017

Sylvie Groueff, “Terminal P, lieu d'expérimentation de la paranoïa sécuritaire”, Mediapart, 7 août 2016


"Faut-il voyager pour être heureux?" exhibition (Should One Travel to Be Happy?), Espace fondation EDF, Paris, may 20, 2022 to january 29, 2023.

Presentation of Psychanalyse de l’aéroport international, Le chaudron, École Camondo, 12 septembre 2019

Presentation of Psychanalyse de l’aéroport international, “Hors limites” festival, Aulnay-sous-bois, 30 mars 2019

Presentation of Psychanalyse de l’aéroport international at the Europan forum, Cité de l’architecture, Paris, 14 décembre 2018.

Presentation of Psychanalyse de l’aéroport international, Librairie Le Monte-en-l’air, Paris, 31 octobre 2018.

Lecture and projection Psychanalyse de l’aéroport international, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 27 juin 2018.

Film-performance Psychanalyse de l’aéroport international, La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris. 20 avril 2017.

Exhibition book, Aéroport / Ville-monde, La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris. 23 février - 21 mai 2017.

Exhibition book Terminal P, La Panacée, Montpellier, 6 juin 2016 - 28 juillet 2016


Book, 194 pages, color. Text in French. Édition 369

Graphic design : Louise Drulhe

Text editing : Clémence Seurat

Distribution : Les Presses du Réel. Order from the publisher or on this very dubious website.