Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sneak peak of the new international terminal art

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Fresh entrance to the new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson
  • Joeff Davis
  • Fresh entrance to the new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson
People be talkin' bout the new international terminal at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Set to open May 16, the $1.5 billion (or one and a half Instagrams) project will help the world's busiest airport accommodate an estimated jump of 10 million passengers over the next three years. The bidding and approval processes for airport vendor contracts got a little sticky and raised questions about favoritism by Mayor Kasim Reed.

I've written a few times about my affection for the airport, mostly because I enjoy the art program there. This week I visited for a tour of the new terminal and the works created and curated specifically for Concourse F.

The new terminal is big and bright, almost blindingly so on the clear day I visited. Most of the installations take advantage of the abundance of natural light or at least were inspired by it. The security checkpoint opens up into a two-story atrium anchored by a suspended sculpture by Donald Lipski. Like a giant butterfly net made of Swarovski crystal, Lipski's "rebilace" provides a sparkly focal point for the space and some visual balance for Uebersee's massive installation hanging in the adjacent open lobby.

David Lipskis rebilace in the terminal atrium
  • Joeff Davis
  • David Lipski's "rebilace" in the terminal atrium

Titled "airFIELD," the work consists of 1,440 hue-changing acrylic discs linked to individual URLs via the wires from which they're suspended. Electrical charges synced to the airport's minute-by-minute takeoffs and landings will cause the discs to shimmer from clear to opaque in an abstraction of the airport's traffic patterns.

Uebersee's airFIELD

Concourses E (the current international gateway) and F are connected by a two-level underground tunnel: the train runs above; the moving sidewalk and pedestrian corridor below. Amy Landesberg's 640-foot, snaking work "Veneers" divides the hallway. For "Veneers," Landesberg created large-scale abstractions of the wood grains of 29 endangered tree species. The digitally manipulated films are sandwiched between sheets of glass and installed at varying pitches, giving the work a sense of movement. The abstracted wood grains resemble weather patterns or satellite imaging and recall heat maps in their coloring. A custom light system will throw the colors and patterns across the floor and travelers.

Amy Landesbergs Veneers
  • Amy Landesberg's "Veneers"

Workers clean a section of Veneers.

The customs area includes three screens looping montages of American scenery to welcome international travelers created by Broadcast Solutions, a company specializing in aerial photography. Chris Janny's interactive sound and light installation "Light Waves" lines the hallway next to customs. In it, light filtered through colored panels and a custom Georgia soundscape are activated by both touch and movement.

Additionally, the new check-in area will feature seven kiosks with short videos and animations joint-curated by the Atlanta Film Festival and the airport's art committee. Atlanta Atlanta Celebrates Photography will curate a long-term Georgia-centric photo exhibit that has yet to be installed as has a sculpture by Christopher Moulder.

The airport art program is funded through the City of Atlanta Percent for Art Ordinance, which specifies that 1 percent of the construction budget of eligible projects at the airport is set aside for public art. The committee consulted its artist registry as well as Atlanta's Office of Cultural Affairs registry and a nunber of other national registries. Hundreds of artists were narrowed down by a multi-tier process including a panel of local experts such as director and chief curator of Kennesaw State Univerity's art museum Teresa Bramlette Reeves and Flora Maria Garcia, CEO of Metro Atlanta Arts & Culture Coalition. The panel's recommendations were submitted to the Department of Aviation, the Atlanta City Council and the mayor's office for final approval.

View a full photo gallery of the new international terminal and its artworks.

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