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Nicole Hall
Senior Communications Specialist

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San Diego International Airport Unveils Iconic Dynamic, Solar-powered Public Art Installation on Rental Car Center

First-of-its-Kind, 1,600-Foot Artwork Comprises 2,100 E-Paper Panels

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SAN DIEGO – September 13, 2017 – San Diego International Airport (SAN) and artist team Ueberall International today officially unveiled DAZZLE, the region’s largest high-tech public art installation spanning the nearly one-third-mile façade of the airport’s Rental Car Center facing Pacific Highway. Made up of 2,100 e-paper panels – each solar-powered and computer-controlled – DAZZLE effectively turns the faceted building into a changeable and landmark mural. 

This permanent installation was commissioned through a competitive process in 2015 specifically for the Rental Car Center site. Ueberall, in partnership with E Ink Corp., conceived of the artwork as a way to animate the entire building façade using sustainable, programmable technology. Computer controls allow the e-paper panels to act as individual pixels that collectively display more than 15 unique, artist-designed  animations “that evoke everything from water ripples to moving traffic to dancing snowflakes,” according to Ueberall artist Nik Hafermaas, , who chairs the Graphic Design department at ArtCenter College of Design.

“It represents a living, breathing demonstration of what could become a radical transformation of building façades around the world,” he added.

The bold graphic elements and animations will be seen daily by hundreds of thousands of motorists driving by on Interstate 5 and public transit users.

“There is nothing like this – in terms of scale and artistic use of this sustainable technology in art – anywhere in the world,” said San Diego County Regional Airport Authority President/CEO Kimberly J. Becker. “We’ve taken a functional building and turned it into a vibrant artwork. This is a remarkable addition to the Airport Arts Program designed to enhance everyone’s experience of our airport through exciting and innovative encounters with culture.”

SAN’s public art program is funded by a two percent allocation of eligible construction costs. DAZZLE cost is a total of $875,000 from the Rental Car Center construction cost of $316 million.

The work is named for dazzle camouflage, a type of ship camouflage developed by Norman Wilkinson and used in World War I. By use of stripes and other patterns, dazzle camouflaged the outlines of ships.

DAZZLE pushes the boundaries of what’s possible for electronic paper,” said Paul Apen, Chief Strategy Officer of E Ink Corp. “Our unique Prism architectural film…and imagination…made this possible.”

Because each panel has its own solar cell and thanks to the low-power requirements of E Ink technology, the entire piece consumes about as much power as a PC computer. Including all support hardware that drives the animation through computerized transmission, the artwork’s overall energy consumption is less than two flat-panel television sets.

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