I was looking at some more photos I took at the Denver International Airport last time I passed through there, and I took 3 of “the ruins” at Concourse C. More about this below; first the photos:
- Panoramic with the Overgrown Ruins art installation (part of the space architecture, with actual living plants crawling over the art) on both left and right in this photo. Also note the granite imagery on the bottom floor):
- The two sides individually:
I didn’t see any explantion at the airport.
Michael Singer, the artist who came up with this giant sculpture/ruins model, or whatever it is supposed to be, also has not much to say about it. Supposedly he intended the art installation “to make us more aware of the world,” and in this overview of his amazing collection of art creations, it’s beautifully described as:
“In 1994 nature took over the 650 square meter Concourse C within the Denver International Airport and changed the usual anonymous, expected airport in both a dramatic and evocative way.
Singer’s public art project brought nature into the antiseptic airport setting by creating a vast, indoor garden, in which various climbing plants creep up the walls and across the concrete surfaces. There is, on the whole, a multitude of intense connections between the non-linear growth elements and the more linear structures in the sculptural forms.
The garden can be viewed from the level above, where there is a McDonald’s restaurant and other fast food shops, a fascinating contrast. Singer comments, “the garden is covered with vines, ferns, all manner of growth. It becomes a living ecology, and therefore a complete contradiction to its surroundings.” The garden, akin to the Japanese Zen-gardens, can be viewed from several vantage points but is not open and available directly to the public, which gives it a mysterious air.
However, it establishes a network of expressive, contrasting effects in its grey, cold surroundings. The moss-covered surfaces in the northeastern end of the space lead one’s thoughts to the Moss Gardens in Kyoto, creating a poetic Japanese reference.
[Insert: this is in reference to Saihō-ji (西芳寺?), a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple located in Matsuo, Nishikyō Ward, Kyoto, Japan, famous for its moss garden.]
The multitude of green plants reduces air pollution, sends lovely fragrances into the air and attracts birds, which fly between the vegetation and sculptural elements. A hidden watering system ensures the garden is always fresh and green.
Describing this garden, Singer says he “took what would have been a usually antiseptic airport zone, made it smell, made it wet, and made it grow; and gave life that you don’t get in places like an airport.”“
Cool. Fair enough. And perhaps it also coincidentally fits with some of the “end times themes” found in the DIA murals (like these)? It does depict ruins of a once-great civilization, after all…
Michael Singer’s been inspired by the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, Mexico and many others indigenous art, the above pdf shows. The photos above are pretty high-resolution (reduced for posting) so here’s a zoom-in of one side’s center ruins:
Apart from the style, which remind me of Mayan, Incan, and the mysterious pre-Incan ruins in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia. The only other possible hint (with a stretch): perhaps that’s a “Sun Disk” on one of the walls?
For additional clues about whether or not there’s more to these, I had a look at who guided this project? “Design Team: Sterling McMurrin and McCaren Design” is says on Michael Singer’s DIA slideshow description (http://www.michaelsinger.com/)
McCaren Design does interior landscape designs, and Sterling M. McMurrin was an unconventional Mormon theologian and Philosophy professor at the University of Utah. He served as United States Commissioner of Education in the administration of President John F. Kennedy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterling_M._McMurrin).
On ‘Religion’, he had the following to say:
“Religion is at the heart of every culture—primitive or sophisticated, humanistic or theist, oriental or occidental. As Professor Paul Tillich defined it, religion is our “ultimate concern.” It is the ground of our consciousness of being, and the source of our purpose as individuals and of the meaning of history. Its relation to morality is obvious; its historical connections with the arts and sciences are equally apparent. And now, its involvement with politics and the economy is headline news.
Considering the importance of religion for the life of the individual and the quality of culture, it is nothing less than a national scandal that it has been so severely neglected by our educational institutions. It is time for us to give the study of religion the attention it needs—serious, reasonable, knowledgeable study—unless we are resigned to becoming victims of the irrationality and emotionalism in religion that are already so much in evidence.”
— Sterling M. McMurrin, 1992 (http://www.hum.utah.edu/humcntr/PDF/Sterlingbio.pdf)
Alright. In any case, definitely a cool art project within DIA’s Concourse C.