A threshold to the exhibition in the form of a sort of time capsule, this space presents crucial transformations of technology and culture with the single common thread of their date: 1997. The year the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was inaugurated appears not only as a turning point for architecture’s history, but also as a prophetic prism for emerging paradigms across the board—from post-digital life and emerging forms of esotericism, to the post-human and the development of other anthropologies.
The Airlock represents the techno-cultural condition in which the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was developed and into which it became a global symbol. A diagram including signs, photographs, books, and diverse objects defining 1997 culturally, technologically, and politically presides over the gallery. News footage and music from this year, along with photographic evidence of the drastic mutation of Bilbao, are also included. Extensive documentation from the Guggenheim Bilbao’s architectural project, designed by Frank O. Gehry and realized with a diverse team of adventurous collaborators from various fields, completes the experience of this introductory environment.