To celebrate the opening of Terminal 2 : The Queen’s Terminal, Heathrow Airport have commissioned Futurecity to create a special interactive iBook. The public arts agency behind Richard Wilson’s Slipstream led a specialist team to create the free iBook, documenting the monumental sculpture from concept to completion. Through digital development the free iBook allows the artistic process to be understood through CGI reconstructions, 3D animation and audio commentary from the artist himself, offering a truly immersive experience and a powerful new advancement of the art-book concept.
Slipstream was commissioned by Heathrow to welcome passengers to the UK’s hub airport and to enhance passenger experience of the new Terminal 2, designed by luis vidal + architects. Weighing 77 tonnes and measuring 78 metres, the sculpture’s twisting aluminium form is inspired by the world of aviation. For Wilson, the work is a response to the artistic challenge of capturing movement and a metaphor for travel. Beneath its reflective skin is a vast, three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle of over 30,000 unique parts and 23 sections. In order to construct it, engineers used intricate computer programmes developing detailed 3D models which led Heathrow to commission a new state-of-the-art iBook.
Founder of Futurecity, Mark Davy explains
‘As the Curator of the Slipstream project I wanted to bring the same technical skill and ambition to the archive of the project as the engineers, artist and fabricators had brought to the making of the sculpture itself.’
Davy assembled a team consisting of graphic designer Jeremy Timings, responsible for the beautiful Slipstream catalogue, designer and programmer Chris Gannon who would be responsible for the functionality of the book, author of the print catalogue Dr Jean Wainwright and Slipstream architect Ralph Parker. Together they explored the operational opportunities of Apple’s new iBooks Author Version 2 to create the first electronic art book, using the vast amount of data that had been collected over the four year period it took to create Slipstream – static images, engineering drawings, illustrations, photographs, galleries, 3D models, computer animations and films, audio pieces, diagrams and text all added to the immersive experience of the iBook.
The result is a beautiful, interactive experience that not only captures the sheer scale of the final sculpture but also takes the reader on Richard Wilson’s fascinating journey from concepts, sketches and design to execution, delivery and placement of this intricate yet massive structure in one of the world’s busiest airports. The final version continues the idea that has underpinned the project from day one, ‘to bring world class art to a new audience in a gallery without walls’. Slipstream will be seen by over 20 million passengers a year and is set to be Britain’s most viewed public sculpture.