The McNamara Tunnel, Detroit Airport

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This is one of my favorite public art installations that involves digital media. I had the pleasure of riding through this tunnel a couple of  years back. It took me a while to actually find this because I remembered it being in Atlanta, which it is not- its located at the Detroit Airpot. http://www.jimonlight.com/2008/11/18/the-mcnamara-tunnel-detroit-airport/

The above link will direct you to an article written by Marcus Wuebker, the lighting designer. The article is really interesting because it talks about the creation of the piece. It is a collaboration between a glass artist, a musical composer, and a lighting designer, along with many other people and the companies they work for. The glass artist, Lauren Fyfe, created the glass panels first. They consisted of “curved glass panels with abstract art sand blasted into the back create a mural on both sides that runs the entire length of the tunnel. Translucent material completes the curve of the glass and visually connects the two sides.” 

Afterwards Norhtwest Airlines then decided they wanted a show to go along with the glass panels. That is when the musical composer and the lighting director started to work together to come up with a theme. They settled on rainstorm and sunset/sunrise theme. The musical composer would write the music first and then the lighting director would respond with a light show. This is for all you techno peeps- “The tunnel was programmed and runs today off of two Hog II PC’s. There are 8100 12” iCove Fixtures lighting the glass panels and 222 12” Color Blast lighting the ceiling and 12 48” Color Blaze in each rotunda all from Color Kinetics. Pathport Ethernet nodes distribute DMX throughout the tunnel.”

I think it is extremely interesting how so many different types of artists and creators have collaborated to make this piece happen. If you have a chance to see this piece in person I would highly recommend it.

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