The luminal tunnel of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport was always the perfect symbolic experience of the future. With its plunging vanishing point and soaring roofline, Saarinen’s theatrical passage embodied, if not created, Utopian ideals of transcendence and transportation in travel.
spectra [for Terminal 5, JFK] is Ryoji Ikeda’s stunning site-specific installation commissioned for the tunnel as part of Terminal 5, an exhibition curated by Rachel K. Ward. While spectra appeals to ideals similar to Saarinen’s, it employs entirely distinct strategies that generate singular phenomena and renew our optimism for the future.
Describing spectra, Ryoji Ikeda says ‘This installation offers visitors a special phenomenon, which is nearly invisible due to its intense brightness and inaudible due to its ultra-frequencies. Visitors can barely recognise the dimensions of the space, as if they were blind in a whiteout state. As they pass through the corridor, subtle oscillation patterns occur around their ears, caused by their own movements interfering with the sounds.’ The sound is subtle and minimal, yet the experience of the sound in the installation is active and dynamic. Only through the public’s physical engagement in the sound space can the real character of the work be perceived.
"Ikeda’s work activates a process that liquefies architecture, as sound is materialised by its container. This uniform figure of sound and space accordingly traces and alters all bodies moving through it." – Hesse McGraw, Terminal 5 catalogue essay, 2004
For further information about the Terminal 5 exhibition, featuring works by Vanessa Beecroft, Dan Graham, Jenny Holzer, Anri Sala and others, please visit www.terminalfive.com
1 Oct 04 – 31 Jan 05 Terminal 5 exhibition, JFK Airport, New York, US
Produced by Forma
Photo: Dean Kaufman
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