Posted On: August 6, 2013

In Art News: Jim Campbell Lights Up San Diego

Mad. Sq. Art alum Jim Campbell, whose Scattered Light (2008) received much critical acclaim, has now brought his distinctive vision to the San Diego International Airport. Campbell’s new commission, The Journey, is part of the Green Build Airport Master Plan Program, a massive $1 billion initiative to expand and streamline the airport’s daily operations with ten new gates, expanded checkpoints, a food court, and ten art commissions.

Comprised of 38,000 light pendants suspended along the ceiling, Campbell’s “ribbon of light” undulates across the 1,000-foot span of the airport’s North Concourse. With the continuous bustle of commuters below it is easy to miss the work’s flickering lights, subtly programmed to create the illusion of silhouetted birds in flight which appear to glide through the light. Other shadowed forms, such as dancing or swimming figures, will be introduced into the work, leading passengers along as they travel across the terminal. The Journey reflects Campbell’s masterful and contemplative blend of technology and art and is currently a nominee for a CoD+A Award, which is set to be announced on August 20.

The largest construction effort in the airport’s history, the Green Build earmarked 2% of the construction budget for new artwork. This $6 million project underscores the significant impact of public art as a means of transforming and enlivening public spaces, as well as providing aesthetic beauty and a thoughtful, calming presence to an airport’s customarily stressful and mundane environment. Airports are essentially shared spaces, and public art encourages people irrespective of culture, language, age, and background to take pause – even for a moment – and look up. Ranging from a performance piece by Sheryl Oring to Stuart Keeler’s sculpture comprised of 35,000 Swarovski crystals, the commissioned works encompass a range of media and disciplines. Other artists who received commissions as part of the Green Build include: Jason Bruges Studio, Erik Carlson, coLAB Studio (Maria and Matthew Salenger), Living Lenses (Louise Bertelson and Po Shu Wang), Roy McMakin, Merge Conceptual Design (Franka Diehnelt and Claudia Reisenberger), and Norie Sato.

Image Credit: Jim Campell’s The Journey at the San Diego International Airport, California. Courtesy of Melissa Huapaya.