Flight Attentive


As air travel has become ubiquitous and utilitarian, the introduction of the A380 and 787 show air travel’s power to capture the imagination of the general public, and captivate them with images of shared cultures, and the promise of an interconnected, global community. Adequately reflecting the popular excitement of flying, in Andy Warhol’s words, “I just can’t get over the crazy feeling I get when I look out and see the clouds and know I’m really up-there.” Yet, even with the knowledge of these transit infrastructure coming and going frequently above our heads, the network is otherwise hidden — no real sense of the logics, rhythms and patterns of what is moving above us.

This project seeks to make evident this network in architectural space, allowing for one to observe the tracks from Louis Armstrong Airport. By using FAA real-time data, the flight activities of the previous 24 hours are condensed into an evening and rendered through an actuated, field of airplanes. Locally, the movements of visitors initiate other playful tracking games within the space of the installation. Thus, the architectural space is transformed throughout the night as a replay of the day and of the moment, serving as a means of engaging both data and the dynamism of the New Orleans region and its economy.

Flight Attentive, at DesCours
301 Magazine Street
CBD/French Quarter, New Orleans
Winter, 2011