A Little Dreamer Art Installation: Paper Airplanes and Sustainability
Paper airplanes connect us with childhood dreams and memories, with individual attachments that are unique to one’s personal experiences. My honors project was a month-long art installation in the Design Building atrium during December 2013. Initially inspired by artist Dawn Ng’s “I Fly Like Paper” project, my installation responds to its architectural frame because these airplane "vectors" are connecting each of the atrium’s four balconies to the opposite wall on the ground level. These descending arcs provide a counterpoint to the narrow and vertical atrium and new ways of re-experiencing the linear and squared-off space. The planes themselves are static, but viewers experience a diversity of psychological responses because of the dynamic aesthetic variations that occur from different levels, angles, or time of day. Finally, the medium is the message: the 634 paper airplanes are made from sheets of paper discarded from Design Building printing lab. The number of planes reflect the number of trees worldwide that are cut for paper mills every five seconds, based on the rate of four billion trees per year. The installation utilizes public art as a medium to highlight environmental issues and to raise public awareness of paper recycling and sustainable conservation practices.