< Back to front page Text size +

An airport's flowing wall

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  December 6, 2012 11:40 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

textscapes cropped.jpg

In recent years a number of airports around the world have begun hosting large-scale art installations, and one of the most striking is Textscapes, a wall of ever-shifting type near a security line at the Vienna International Airport by Ars Electronica Future Lab.

Textscapes depicts an endless stream of alphabet letters fluttering down to the ground like snowflakes, where they pile up across a series of monitors in an evocative, shifting topography of phrases in different languages. The volume of falling letters changes according to the number of people passing by, and the contours of the accumulated text change to reflect air traffic patterns: hills develop in response to take-offs, valleys in response to landings.

Besides being innovative as art, Textscapes would seem to serve a more practical end as well—as a salve to security line stress, and a reminder to single-minded travelers that airports are complex places where sometimes you just have to accept your place in the flow.

For more innovative airport installations, check out eCLOUD at San Jose International Airport, Signal To Noise at the Toronto International Airport, and CLOUD at London’s Heathrow.

[Above: detail from Textscapes, courtesy Ars Electronica Futurelab.]

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

 
About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
contributors
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

archives

Browse this blog

by category