Ripples, 2014

Site 3 Terminal 1 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Laminated glass.

Airports can be stressful places. Ripples creates a contemplative, soothing expanse of blue water where the patterns of drops remind us of eternal rhythms and cycles. We see the sky reflected and the texture of the water with the waves of the drops expanding.

For those who look more closely, the drops are falling and the rings on the water appear to be expanding; the whole surface of the water alive with the delicate motion of rain falling on water. 

In order to accomplish this I approached Rufus Butler Seder who has worked for 20 years developing a patented system to animate images in a flat surface without mechanical means. For this project we have created an entirely new approach and if it is built this will be the only thing like it in the world. 

The impression of movement is achieved via thin etched lines that “interfere” with an image behind them. This image is actually three images that are woven together on the computer into thin strips and as you move by the etched lines obscure part of the image so that the brain sees for a fleeting instant only oneā€¦then the next and then the third and then the first one again. What the brain perceives is interpreted as motion.  I took photographs of “rain” on water that we created on a day right after a rain storm when the sun had come out and the sky was blue with clouds. I took the photographs in rapid sequence so you are really seeing three moments in time in a single hybrid image that is viewed sequentially due to the movement of the viewer.