Friday, May 23, 2014

Runways, Skies, Horizons

The runway itself is almost complete – you can drive across the whole expanse and hardly feel the incline.  During my artist talk at Studio Henning Haupt (thanks again to Henning for offering his space), Aviation Department Deputy Directory, Doug Webster, spoke about the inevitable transition of the site and the form it will ultimately take as an ordinary, everyday space.  A highly orchestrated series of transformative cuts, marks, pushes and pulls will turn what is now perceived as an ordered yet chaotic site into a precisely constructed and fully integrated plot of land – it will soon become entirely familiar.

I was thinking about some of this as I gathered new material on the site and its periphery during my visit this May. As well, I traveled a bit further down into the Everglades National Park to think a bit more about the delicate ecosystem the airport is a part of.  I found myself looking to the sky, and the horizon – linking the birds in flight and the long, empty space of sky and water to the expanse of the long, interrupted surface of the runway, and the sameness of the blue above, in both spaces.

Party on Top of the Hill - After School

One of the more enjoyable experiences of this visit was the opportunity to spend time with a group of kids from a local after school program (and surprisingly so, to be quite truthful – I’m not a HUGE kid person, but this group was amazing).  We drove up to the tippy top of the construction site to get a view and see the progress on the runway, and stopped in one of the terminals to see an in-progress terrazzo floor piece.  I got a chance to talk with them about my participation as artist-in-residence and they were so enthusiastic I wound up giving prints to anyone who wanted them – which was everyone, and they had a hard time making choices, and I couldn’t say no, so, like I said earlier, most of my work proofs printed during the community studio hours went right back into the community.  It seemed entirely appropriate.

A few images from the school tour are below.

Community Studio in the Airport, Once More

There was a bit less hustle and bustle in the airport during the community studio hours in May, as the holiday travelers weren’t descending upon the region en masse as in December, and I didn’t have the school kid orchestras as my neighbors busting out the Christmas jams. But, the semi-quiet was good too.  This time I got to know the airport employees a bit better – some of the baggage claim staff for various airlines, the cruise line gang, one of the Sheriff’s deputies that patrol the airport, and Artie, the Airport Ambassador, in particular.  He let me share the space around the information booth with him, and we shared tons of stories - about his years as a pilot for Delta, growing up in New York, old photographs, family and travel.  I gained a lot of perspective from Artie, as well as a new appreciation for the day-to-day minutiae of the airport itself.

I had so much fun talking with people this time, that I didn’t spend as much time working on still-life set ups during these hours, but instead focused primarily on printing work proofs (which I promptly gave away over half of during the after-school program visit that also took place that week – more on that in the next blog post).  A did make a few wee little foothills though – a composite image is below....