Client: Houston Airports - City of Houston
Location: Houston, TX, United States
Completion date: 2023
Artwork budget: $130,000
A transformative digital light experience inspires passengers’ journeys in the Terminal B Skyway Station at Bush Intercontinental Airport. The artists Billy Baccam and Alex Ramos, collectively known as the creative duo Input Output, bring inanimate structures and spaces to life by combining art, science, technology, and architecture, as expressed through light. Data Stream is a site-specific installation that uses 66 LED strips, spanning three niches within the Terminal B Skyway, to animate data, transforming it into a constantly changing light show. The shape of the installation mimics air waves as they travel over the wings of an airplane adding dynamic movement and form, while visually guiding guests through the space.
The goal of this site-specific art commission was to activate an existing space – a high-traffic skyway station with a constantly changing audience. As passengers spend less than 120 seconds in the station, on average, the installation needed to instantly captivate the attention of the viewer and provide fresh content while they await the train. The dynamic nature of the digital light display entertains passengers, and the steady stream of changing data imagery keeps their attention, constantly providing a fresh visual. As the data is sourced from readily available information sourced from Houston websites – precipitation levels, flight paths, traffic patterns – the piece is also uniquely Houston.
Input Output is known for their captivating light displays and their unique approach to projection and illuminated art installations. For this project the artists utilized available data, which is then transformed into abstracted light patterns which run along LED strips mounted in ceiling alcoves. The piece, spanning over 88 feet long, covering three alcoves, is presented in a series of increasing waves, gently guiding passengers from one end of the station to the other. The variety of data and patterns create a seemingly random effect, which increases visual interest and maximize the length and form of the piece.
This digital installation continues to be a crowd favorite, as the pattern changes throughout the day, and the overall impact evolves with changing natural lighting conditions. As the key visual feature in the Skyway Station, it differentiates Terminal B from other stations and thus acts as a wayfinding supplement. Sourcing data from local sources, also reinforces sense of place as passengers make their way through the Houston Airport and onward to their final destinations.