Park and Play

Electroland's Connection on the Indianapolis Airport's Pedestrian Bridge.

Electroland’s Connection on the Indianapolis Airport’s Pedestrian Bridge.

By Jessica Jankowski

My husband travels a lot for work and I am lucky enough to tag along for play.  We often make the early morning commute to Indianapolis International Airport, in the dark, and in the quiet.  A contrast indeed to the spirit of the place of which I write.

“To be present in place and engaged in spirit is in a sense my life’s work.”

We take our ticket stub at Long-Term Parking, then set out on foot on a zero wait time line, snaking through the Parking Garage, past the rental car counters, and up the escalator, boarding one of the most delightful local amusement park rides around…Electroland’s “Connection” installation, housed in the Pedestrian Bridge.  Thanks to TYZX’s 3D Vision Systems, pedestrian movements are tracked along a moving walkway, their connecting energies resulting in a software-generated display of light and sound.  It’s ironically futuristic, even if it is a throwback to a little scene from 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a brilliant gesture of communication in its own right.  Deep resonating sounds awaken the groggiest of travelers and if you follow the visually connected lights you may find yourself meeting eyes with a stranger, an alien encounter indeed!

“And for a moment on that ride, we’re not husband and wife, we’re childhood friends, smiling with our senses.”

And even though a longer aeronautic voyage awaits, I approach the tunnel of fun with an “Are we there yet?” excitement.  And I know that just like the payoff for that lengthy line at the Toy Story Mania ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I’m about to enjoy my very own Midwestern midway. My husband is always surprised at how this ride never gets old for me, but how could it, when the lights and sounds playfully experience me uniquely each time.  To be present in place and engaged in spirit is in a sense my life’s work and my business traveler husband is lucky enough to tag along for play.  And for a moment on that ride, we’re not husband and wife, we’re childhood friends, smiling with our senses.

As the Spirit and Place Festival celebrates its 17th year, engage in this year’s theme “play,” by attending festival events, November 2nd – November 11th.  I attended in 2011, when the theme was “body“, and while grounded on my yoga mat, I was uplifted by the vibrations of the world’s largest stringed instrument, the Earth HarpSensory experiences bring spirit into a place.  So the next time you find yourself headed out of town, forgo the cab, and park and play!


10 thoughts on “Park and Play

  1. Thanks! So happy to hear that you too love this timeless installation! It’s great to be locally inspired, but it’s even better to share that with all those who visit Indy…a playful welcome indeed!

    • Indy’s airport is no Atlanta Hartsfield, but it does leave a lasting impression, a pioneer as well of LEED certification. Indy is as playful as its airport…great for the kids! The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum! The new International Orangutan Exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo will gain us some simian status right up there with Zoo Atlanta’s famed gorilla Willie B!

  2. I loved reading about this unique feature of the Indy airport. It makes me want to visit and experience the fun…. Great writing, Ms. Jankowski!

    • Come visit Indy! The airport is just the beginning! There are countless public art installations dotted all along our Cultural Trail, another great moving walkway in a sense. It’s bike, pedestrian, wheelchair, and blind friendly!

  3. I agree…Great writing, Ms. Jankowski! 🙂 It really brought this airport feature to life! I think I’ll have to come visit Indianapolis now and experience Park & Play!!! Can’t wait to come! I wanna go to the zoo too!!!!

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