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Monday, Nov 28, 2011 - Canvassed | Art & culture

New public art by Miki Iwasaki at the San Diego International Airport

'Signalscape' lights up the baggage claim

By Kinsee Morlan
newartairport Signalscape by Miki Iwasaki

San Diego International Airport recently unveiled its newest public artwork in Terminal 1.

The piece, "Signalscape" by local architect/designer Miki Iwasaki, measures approximately 64 feet in length and is mounted over the baggage claim area. It is equipped with motion sensors that light up as people walk by.

The project is part of Phase II of the Airport Art Master Plan, which sets out to integrate artwork into the design and infrastructure of San Diego International Airport.

We asked Iwasaki, a professor at Woodbury University, to tell us more about the installation:

Miki Iwasaki: It was a difficult piece in many ways, the context of the airport and the space itself was a challenge to work with.  The piece came from a collection of ideas that came from the context of the site and how it can be expressed through the [new series] that is beginning to emerge in my work. Part of it has to do with the airport and its various associations—people, flight, views, passage, time, etc. Another has to do with our digital culture today and the various implications of media, surveillance, control, etc. These ideas were the starting point for me to try to create a piece that works in that space.

CityBeat: Why was including the motion sensor important to the piece?

The idea for the motion sensors are part of the larger idea in my work.  I am looking at work that involves more than just the visual. Pieces that engage the body.

What does the visual pattern represent?

Nothing specifically. I mean it doesn't spell anything out nor is it symbolic. But its abstraction can be be associated with communication and information, I suppose.

You enjoy working with wood as a medium. Why is that? For such a large-scale piece, did you consider using any other materials?

Yes, well, I am often drawn to wood as a medium but I am working in a variety of materials at the moment. This choice for wood for this piece was [due to the] context. A bit unexpected, but [wood] also has strong historical connection to aviation.

Are you working on anything else we should know about?

I am going to try and catch my breath, collect my thoughts and spend time with my wife and son. There are some projects on the boards for 2012 but not ready to announce them quite yet.
 
 
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