New Installation at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Transforms Airport Operations Data into Highly Visible Work of Art

Categories: News & Media
Los Angeles-based artist Refik Anadol will discuss ‘Interconnected,’ one of the largest digital public artworks in the world, at a free public event in Charlotte in September

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 9, 2018) – “Interconnected,” an installation of abstract form, color and simulated texture, debuted in July as one of the largest digital public artworks in the world as part of Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) Concourse A Expansion – Phase I.

The artwork, created by groundbreaking Los Angeles-based artist Refik Anadol, uses custom-designed software, more than 2,000 square feet of LED media walls and 850 linear feet of programmable LED lights embedded in the concourse façade to transform the hidden troves of airport operations data into a dramatically choreographed panorama of moving lights. The installation is visible both inside and outside the terminal.

It is organized into three distinct visual chapters: “Fluid Structures,” “Impossible Materials” and “Data Poems.” The work’s constantly-changing forms and colors correspond to the ebb and flow of the airport data management systems responsible for tracking airplane arrivals and departures, vehicular traffic, parking deck occupancy and baggage handling, creating a lasting impression for the nearly 46-million travelers who move through CLT annually.

“Along with the unique forms and motions of each chapter, variations in texture and color within each chapter add an additional layer of real-time response to the data,” Anadol said in his artist statement. “The artwork is constantly changing and evolving as it responds to the ever-changing flow of data, creating a living snapshot of the invisible patterns that surrounds us as we travel to, from and within Charlotte Douglas International Airport.”

Anadol will discuss his new artwork, his transcendent career and how data and technology are shaping the future of art and architecture at “The Poetics of Data: A Conversation with Refik Anadol,” from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17 at UNC Charlotte Center City (320 E. 9th St.). The free event is sponsored by Willis Towers Watson, Rodgers/Turner, NanoLumens, Cenero and the Turkish Cultural Foundation. The event is in partnership with UNC Charlotte College of Art + Architecture.

The sculpture is an innovative addition to Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s public art collection, said Carla Hanzal, vice-president of public art for the Arts & Science Council (ASC).

“Anadol’s dynamic sculpture playfully engages viewers in a new form of storytelling,” Hanzal said. “Constantly in flux, yet never repeating, the chapters reveal CLT as a dynamic organism within the global aviation ecosystem.”

“Interconnected” is the centerpiece artwork for the airport’s Concourse A Expansion – Phase I. The nine gate, 229,807-square foot addition is the first completed project under the Destination CLT initiative, a $2.5 billion capital investment program to renovate the concourses and expand CLT’s roadways, curb front, airfield and terminal.

Funding for the project is in accordance with the City of Charlotte’s Public Art Ordinance, which allocates up to one percent of the total construction budget for eligible capital projects for public art. ASC manages the public art programs for the city and Mecklenburg County.

The total budget for the airport’s Concourse A artwork is $2.9M, which includes the artist’s fee of $950,00 for design and other project related costs and $1,994,939 for the purchase of custom LED media wall products. The airport is a self-sustaining enterprise fund, and revenues generated from airport user and vendor fees help to fund the aviation public art. The purpose of the public art program at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport is to promote Charlotte and the region and to enhance the passenger experience.

The Concourse A artwork is an addition to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s existing public art collection, which includes installations at the daily parking decks, baggage claim, the Fixed Base Operator facility and the airport entrance at Billy Graham Parkway and Birmingham Parkway.

About Refik Anadol

Refik Anadol is a media artist and director born in Istanbul, Turkey and currently residing in Los Angeles. He is a lecturer and visiting researcher in UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts.

Anadol’s site-specific public artworks explore the space among digital and physical entities by creating a hybrid relationship between architecture and media arts. By embedding media arts into architecture, he explores the possibilities of a post-digital architectural future. His work suggests that all spaces and facades have potentials to be utilized as the media artists’ canvases.

Privileging difference rather than singularity and movement rather than stasis, Anadol revels in the challenges that the gradual development of an enriched immersive environment and ubiquitous computing impose on architects, media artists and engineers. By translating the logic of a new media technology into spatial design, he explores how our experience of space is changing now that digital objects permeate our lives, how media technologies have changed our conceptualizations of space and how architecture is embracing these shifts.

Anadol’s site-specific audio/visual installations have been seen across the world, including Athens, Greece, Beijing, China, Los Angeles, Montreal, Canada and Sydney, Australia.

About Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), a City of Charlotte department, welcomes nearly 46 million passengers annually. CLT is ranked among the top 10 busiest airports in the world, averaging 1,400 daily aircraft operations.

Charlotte Douglas is served by seven major carriers, 15 regional carriers and two foreign flag carriers with nonstop service to 173 destinations, including 34 international locations and 3 US territories.

Touted as an economic engine of the Carolinas, CLT contributes $16.2 billion yearly to the local region and supports 224,410 jobs that generate an $11.52 billion payroll.

About ASC

ASC is the chief advocate, resource hub and steward for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region’s cultural community. Its core functions include advocacy, cultural education programs, cultural planning, fundraising, grant making, public art and workshops and trainings for the cultural community. ASC works to ensure Culture For All by combining resources from local and state government with those of the private sector to maximize community impact throughout the cultural sector.

ASC’s mission is to ensure access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.

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Contact Information

Bernie Petit