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Art

Airport Arrivals And Departures Become Typographical Peaks And Valleys In Textscapes

<p>Suddenly hanging out at an airport doesn&#8217;t seem like a bad idea.</p>

Kevin Holmes

It used to be that air travel was a glamourous way to get around, back when Don Draper was in his prime and only the military was aware of the internet. Back then, to board an airless tin can for eight hours of confinement was the stuff of dreams. Now, not so much, so the sooner we can teleport the better.

And as for airports, most of us wouldn’t want to take up residence there like Tom Hanks. Well, not any old airport anyway. But we wouldn’t mind hanging out in the Check In 3 area at Vienna International Airport, where the installation Textscapes from Ars Electronica Futurelab currently resides. This generative work creates real-time interpretations of arriving and departing flights and is part of a series of artworks at the airport under the project ZeitRaum.

For Textscapes walls of monitors greet people as they walk through the security checkpoint, then as a traveller approaches a cloud of cascading letters comes to life tumbling down the wall. As these come to reside at the bottom the letters come together to form texts which form a generative typographical landscape. The contours of which are in constant flux dictated by arrivals and departures, where takeoffs create hills and landings valleys.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen digital art in an airport, in fact it’s become a bit of a “thing.” There’s the dynamic sculpture eCLOUD at San Jose airport, Creators LAb[au]‘s Signal to Noise at the Toronto National Airport, and Troika’s kinetic sculpture Cloud is at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Know of any others?

@stewart23rd