‘Imaginary Destinations’ art installation is the ‘coolest thing’ you’ll see at an airport

Austin travelers can now be instantly transported to whimsical worlds thanks to a public art installation at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).

In between Gates 12 and 14, visitors can stop by “Imaginary Departures,” an immersive installation by Brooklyn-based artist Janet Zweig. The artist transformed one of the airport’s standard hold rooms into an interactive piece where audio and visual elements make travelers feel like they’re in a fictional world. Two screens also display flight info for hundreds of otherwordly stops.

Zweig pulled inspiration from science fiction and fantasy works like Doctor Who, The Wizard of Oz and China Mieville’s The City and The City. Instead of announcing details about flights to London or France, overhead loudspeakers provide boarding information about places like Emerald City, the Time Lords and other fictional locations. 

@readysetjetset

This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen at an airport! 📍Interimaginary Destinations at Austin Airport #austintexasthings #tiktoktravel #travel #atx

♬ Pure Imagination – Kathleen

TikToker @readysetjetset called “Imaginary Destinations” the “coolest thing” she’s ever seen at an airport. She used another part of the installation: A bronze kiosk that gives passengers a souvenir boarding pass to an imaginary place. 

“Travel can oftentimes be a stressful experience, and art installations like this can play a huge part in helping travelers relax while on their journey,” said AUS Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Yaft.

The artwork was commissioned by the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Program and funded by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Terminal Expansion Capital Improvement Budget.

“The opportunity to transform a holding room in an airport into a magical space has never been offered to an artist,” Zweig said. “It will be a one-of-a-kind artwork and will distinguish the airport as a unique location for experiential art and a place with a playful sense of humor.” 

More from In The Know:

TikToker's viral series reveals 'Black history facts you'll never learn in school'

Air fryer desserts that TikTok chefs love

TikToker debunks fake Black history 'facts' many people still believe: 'Misinformation can become history'

How to like someone's Instagram Story without sending a DM

Shoppers say this $43 office chair with over 29,000 five-star reviews is '5/5 in every category'

Listen to the latest episode of our pop culture podcast, We Should Talk: