Cloud Gazing Kansas City, MO 2023
Cloud Gazing is an artwork commissioned by the Kansas City International Airport as part of the extensive public art programming in their new $1.5 billion dollar terminal. Cloud Gazing is a series of cloud-like suspended forms along the 500-foot main connector linking the main concourses terminal. Inspired by the dream-like quality of watching clouds over the expansive planes of the Midwest and pareidolia, the tendency to see images in nebulous forms like clouds. The artwork consists of ten cloud-like forms suspended along the connector ceiling. Hanging nylon straps of varying and precise length hang down to give each cloud a three-dimensional billowing quality while obscuring vibrant images above each cloud. These images are made of four prismatic combinations of color that are interlaced together and UV printed on the acoustic tiles within the curved aluminum frame of each cloud. Together the straps and images produce a three-dimensional barrier-grid animation when visitors are walking down the center of the connector space.
The visible image shifts between the four interlaced images as visitors walk down the connector. When visitors travel on the moving walkways located on each side of the connector their constant speed and perspective animates each cloud with through the pattern interference created by the
hanging straps and the vibrant patterns behind them. Depending on a visitor’s orientation they will notice the animated shift between the interlaced images, the straps disappear exposing the pattern, or they will see this softer shift in colors. This animated pattern interference is an unexpected effect that animates the typical connector space in airports that are often forgettable. The combination of the perspective from the moving walkways works with the artwork to create a sensation that the clouds are moving. These vibrant and animated forms take advantage of the space in the connector as a place where people don’t often expect stimulus to create a magical daydream like experience where they may find themselves reflecting on childhood memories of seeing images in the clouds.
Photos: Alan Tansey