The airFIELD receives real-time information about flights coming and going from the Atlanta airport. Flight data is sent from the master computer, through the circuit boards, and they in turn send data and an electrical charge to tell each disc in the sculpture how to behave. The custom software powering airFIELD (seen above) was written in C++ and built upon the innovative art programming library called Cinder. The real-time flight data feed is provided by FlightAware.
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Each of airFIELD's 10-inch (25.4cm) circles is made of a liquid crystal switchable film laminated between two layers of polycarbonate to create large acrylic pixels. The sculpture requires electrical and data connectivity all the way down the piece so that each disc is able to fade from 0%-100% opacity. This changing translucency from totally clear to opaque white is the essence of the airFIELD's monochromatic physical animation. The simple synchronized fade in and out with a gradient opacity change is sequenced to produce on and off sweeps of movement chasing from back to front.
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The sculpture is mounted to a hidden structure above a drop ceiling via threaded rods that connect to 15' (4.572m) sections of aluminum "V" channel, serving as a structure and wire management for the 3,000 wires attached to the 1,500 circular tiles, connected to 81 circuit boards all linked back to a single computer server below.
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