Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The airFIELD is a dynamic sculpture synced to real-time flight data reflecting the heartbeat of the world’s busiest air travel hub, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Suspended in the center of the new International terminal, the 90’ long and 30’ wide (27.4m x 9.1m) data-driven art piece with two intersecting sweeping forms evokes the wonder of flight.


    airFIELD is composed of thousands of custom-made Liquid Crystal discs that change from opaque to transparent states with an electric charge. All of the sculpture’s discs are controlled by a custom-engineered computer program. The software constantly monitors a live stream of Atlanta flight traffic data that triggers generative motion behavior rippling throughout the sculpture. These movements follow coded dynamic parameters allowing for an ever-evolving visual experience that creates the sensation of flight.


    The inspiration for airFIELD comes from the trajectories made by airplanes taking off and landing. When seen in a long exposure, these flight paths create elegant soaring lines. These trajectories are interpreted in the two swooping shapes that create the sculpture. When seen straight-on from the side, the sculpture is reminiscent of a bird in flight.

    Different viewing angles allow for a visually complex interplay of perspective, form, transparency, light, and shadow.


    airFIELD consists of 1,500 circular tiles suspended by 3,000 wires, connected to 81 circuit boards all linked back to a single computer server.

    airFIELD animates arrival and departure events with a system that uses fluid dynamics physics engines to generate visual behavior.


    Each flight that lands or takes off from the airport activates the sculpture (as many as 2500 in a single day). Planes traveling a short distance create small ripples in the sculpture, while planes traveling a longer distance cause greater activity.


    The realtime flight data feed is provided by FlightAware, a global aviation software and data services company.


    To visualize the actual flight data, UEBERSEE created the airFIELD Dynamic Display on the mezzanine level of the terminal so that travelers can learn more about the sculpture’s behavior.


    Artists: Jamie Barlow, Dan Goods, Nik Hafermaas
    Programming: Daniel Massey
    Fabrication and Installation: Jim Hetherington
    Technical Direction: Gustavo Huber
    Engineering: Simon Franklyn with Andersen and Associates
    Project Management: Jamie Barlow
    Material Engineering: Citala USA
    Photos: Jamie Barlow, D. Goods, N. Hafermaas

    airFIELD is produced by UEBERSEE, Inc.