Chronos and Kairos, A Dynamic Artwork for New Airport Terminal Reflects Nature of Time

In June, when the new terminal at Mineta San Jose International Airport opens, it will feature a bounty of new permanent and changing artworks. These artworks, based on the theme of Art + Technology, will be situated throughout the terminal in both pre- and post-security areas.

One of the changing artworks that will be featured in a gate seating area is Chronos and Kairos. This artwork, created by Gorbet+Banerjee with Maggie Orth, will be on display for two years. Chronos and Kairosis a dynamic interactive artwork consisting of sixty-five identical kinetic identical sculptural elements hanging below the waiting area ceiling. Each element is composed of two metal arcs that rotate around each other, manipulated like marionettes with a visible pulley system. Linked with a Jacob’s Ladder-type hinge, the arcs maintain a mysterious physical connection as they rotate in a graceful choreography. The artwork’s movements combine four actions: a soft kinetic breathing motion; ripples moving across the field of nodes activated by passenger movement; ‘counting’ through discrete node flips, and a completion mode when the nodes close to a static oval shape. When all nodes are closed, there is a slow reassembly and reset sequence, allowing the cycle to begin anew.

The artwork is based on a Greek concept that describes time in two ways, Chronos and Kairos – quantitative versus qualitative, numeric time versus metaphysical time. While we move faster, go faster, and measure time in ever-smaller increments, we are still able to seize the moment, to step outside the bounds of Chronos and embrace the opportunity that Kairos brings.

The artists chose this theme because airports, and their waiting areas, are hubs of travel and communication, the latest technology, speed and life. Time in the waiting areas ebbs and flows with the buildup of passengers before each flight, the clamor to board, and the emptiness that sits idle then slowly fills again. Airports have a larger rhythm as well, slowing at night, and speeding up during the day. Travelers rush through security then wait for boarding, rush to disembark then wait for luggage. They are ruled by the clock and yet time stretches and compresses based on their surroundings, expectations and desires.

Chronos and Kairos will give travelers an opportunity to ponder the nature of time while they enjoy its passage and interact with this beautiful, mesmerizing sculpture.

Comments are closed.