Monday, December 20, 2021

“Interimaginary Departures” public art installation brings new out-of-this-world destinations to AUS


Cast bronze kiosk as part of the 'Interimaginary Departures' interactive public art installation at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. 

A whimsical new public art installation has arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), transforming one of the terminal’s gate areas and adding 120 fantastical new air service destinations to the airport.
Located at Gate ∞ [Infinity symbol], in between Gates 12 and 14, “Interimaginary Departures” is an immersive and interactive piece by Brooklyn-based artist Janet Zweig. The development and installation of the artwork was commissioned by the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Program and funded through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Terminal Expansion Capital Improvement Budget. In the form of a regular AUS gate area which is mysteriously merging with slightly off-angle room from an alternate world, the experience features a variety of audio and visual elements designed to transport travelers to fictional worlds beyond.
“The opportunity to transform a hold room in an airport into a magical space has never been offered to an artist,” wrote Zweig, in the project’s design narrative. “It will be a one-of-a-kind artwork and will distinguish the airport as a unique location for experiential art and a place with a playful sense of humor.”
Inspired by 3-D computer rendering and The City and The City by China Mieville, a novel about two cities existing within the same space, the reimagined hold room also draws inspiration from across the worlds of science fiction and fantasy. The piece features two screens displaying rotating flight information for hundreds of imaginary destinations, from the Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City to Gallifrey, the home world of Doctor Who’s Time Lords. Every three minutes, an overhead loudspeaker provides amusing boarding information about the otherworldly locations.
“Being dedicated to sharing exciting and unique art with the public is part of what makes Austin special.” said Gina Fiandaca, Assistant City Manager over the SD23 Mobility Outcome. “This piece in particular celebrates Austin’s ‘weird’ spirit while also recognizing our continually expanding role in the tech industry.”
Travelers can also visit a cast bronze touch screen kiosk, where a brief survey asks them multiple choice questions such as, “Are more things smaller than you or larger than you?” before printing out a souvenir boarding pass to their next interimaginary destination.

"'Interimaginary Departures' represents the culmination of four years of hard work by a world-class artist, local Austin fabricators, as well as City of Austin staff," explains Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Acting Director for the City of Austin Economic Development Department. "It's one of the most complex public art projects we've ever commissioned, and we're excited to share it with Austin residents and visitors."
The AUS Chief Executive Officer, Jacqueline Yaft, said that she sees the piece as something to also improve the passenger experience.
“Travel can oftentimes be a stressful experience and art installations like this can play a huge part in helping travelers relax while on their journey,” she said. “As air service continues to expand here in Austin, this work shows that if you can imagine it, AUS can help get you there.”

Interimaginary Departures was made possible through the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department, overseeing Art in Public Places program which allocates 2% of eligible capital improvement project budgets to commission or purchase art for that site. Established by the City of Austin in 1985, Austin was the first municipality in Texas to codify a public art program. The current collection has grown to over 300 pieces.


About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit follow us @AustinEconDev on Facebook and @AustinEconDev on Twitter.

About Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
Owned and operated by the City of Austin, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is the second-fastest growing, mid-sized airport in the United States. Austin-Bergstrom is also an economic engine in Central Texas, supplying over 74,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Central Texas region. For the latest news, real-time flight information, parking availability and details on the many services provided at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport visit You can also follow Austin-Bergstrom on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
About the Artist – Janet Zweig
Janet Zweig lives in Brooklyn, NY, and works primarily in the public realm. Her public works include a pair of rolling signs in Seattle, Escape Destinations, that display the names of fictional locations, a kinetic installation on a pier on the Sacramento River, a performance space in a prairie on a Kansas City downtown green roof, a sentence-generating sculpture for an engineering school in Orlando, a 1200′ frieze at the Prince Street subway station in New York, and a system-wide interactive project for eleven Light Rail train stations in Minneapolis, incorporating the work of over a hundred Minnesotans. Her sculpture and books have been exhibited widely. She currently has a residency with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability. She teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University. Read more about the artist online at

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