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