Not Martha


Landing at Seatac Airport

On my way to the Altitude Design Summit I was sitting in the central terminal and listening to the conversations of the people around me because they all seemed to be talking about the sculpture we were sitting beneath. It’s called Landing, it’s enormous, and it inspired my Christmas tree ornament mobile. It was created by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter, is made of 2800 individual sculptures suspended from the ceiling depicting a snow goose landing on water, the image is mirrored in the water below. As you walk around it the image changes, being a clearer outline from various points.

Landing at Seatac Airport

It’s stunning, the first time I saw it I stopped in my tracks, and when you get closer you see that the small cast objects that make up the image are varied. The goose above the water line are origami, below the water line are salmon, and depicting the various water elements are lots of different objects familiar to the Pacific Northwest.

I took a few quick pictures while I was at the airport, but I’ve borrowed some below to show the sculpture more clearly. If you’re headed through Seatac airport I recommend making your way through the central terminal (where most of the shops and restuarnts are located) to have a look.

Landing at Seatac Airport

Image credit: Ralph Helmick

Landing at Seatac Airport

Image credit: Ralph Helmick

· comments [20] · 01-25-2011 · categories:travel ·

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 pixelhazard // Jan 25, 2011 at 3:22 am

    oh i love airport installations. I am always the cheesy person taking photos with them. This sounds fantstic.

    Bright Green Laces

  • 2 Rachael // Jan 25, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Oh my gosh – this is amazing! My brain just doesn’t work like that. I really liked the inclusion of the close-ups of the origami and other items that make the statue – for some reason I had envisioned them all being the same.

  • 3 Robin // Jan 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

    This is beautiful! I saw another installation by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter called Impulse at the Philadelphia International Airport. It is a series flocks of of tiny sculptures of native birds that morph from the shape of a bird to a airplane over several scenes . It is hung above the ticketing area and can be seen behind a glass wall from the moving sidewalk in the terminal waiting area. The glass wall also shows silhouettes of the various birds that make up the flock making them easy to identify. It’s a beautiful piece of work amazingly displayed. I highly recommend checking it out!

  • 4 anne // Jan 25, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Wow! We have a similar installation at Chicago’s Midway airport, just where you exit the security area on your way to baggage claim. It’s a bird made from planes. Also by Helmick!

  • 5 Lynn in Tucson // Jan 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Oh! There’s a similar sculpture at Midway. I absolutely love it.

  • 6 Sam // Jan 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Megan, everytime I fly through Seattle I swoon over this installation – it is an absolute show stopper. so intricate!

  • 7 Linda // Jan 25, 2011 at 11:42 am

    WOW. Thanks so much for sharing this. This is truly inspiring. Helmick is incredible. I love the way he thinks of the sculptures as another dimension. Beautiful. Makes me want to travel from airport to airport.

  • 8 whitney // Jan 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I took a photo of this thing the first time I went up to visit my mom! Definitely makes you stop in your tracks.

  • 9 wms // Jan 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    note: your first graf needs some editing (you repeat yourself). May want to fix.

  • 10 megan // Jan 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    WMS – Thanks! Fixed it.

  • 11 Shirra // Jan 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    That’s great! I love the little ornaments.

  • 12 Sara L. // Jan 26, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Wow, lovely! I believe there is a piece by the same artist in the art museum in Raleigh, NC. It is an airplane made up of butterflies, and all of the butterflies flap their wings randomly. Absolutely hypnotic to watch.

  • 13 Anya // Jan 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I will definitely check it out if I am ever in that terminal again.

  • 14 megan // Jan 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I love that there are similar sculptures and ones from the same artist all over, I look forward to art-scoping at various airports from now on.

  • 15 mel // Jan 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I’ve seen the landing goose before, but have never seen it with the reflection the way that Helmick photographed it. I’m a Seattleite, too, so I’ll definitely be getting another chance to see the sculpture soon.

  • 16 megan // Jan 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Mel I hear you. It looks like it was photographed from a second story walkway, i wonder if the public can get up there? From International Baggage Claim you can get up to a walkway that takes you over to lost items (a sad walk when you are recently wallet-less), but it takes you along the path between baggage claim and the area just past security, not overlooking the main terminal. Next time I have a flight I plan on scoping it out to see if I can get a photo from that vantage point as well.

  • 17 Mary // Jan 30, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I used to fly to Seattle twice a year from Nashville; Seatac is my favorite airport. Thanks so much for sharing this sculpture and evoking so many memories for me.

  • 18 spiffi // Jan 30, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I remember seeing this – I knew it was a bird, but never figured out that the bottom part was a reflection!

    The photo by Helmick makes it so clear – too bad they installed it somewhere where nobody sees it from that angle!

    To get that angle, I’m pretty sure you’d have to be standing on top of the food court vendor booths – either the Wendy’s or the Ivar’s…or possibly on top of the fireworks store (another reason for layovers in seatac! I could spend hours in that store!)

  • 19 Leanne // Feb 1, 2011 at 4:48 am

    It is just beautiful, just amazing!

  • 20 Maria P // Feb 3, 2011 at 6:32 am

    The W Hotel in Dallas has a similar display – made entirely of little plastic cowboys. It’s adorable – and very impressive in the 2 story lobby!

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