SPIKED: New DIA public art lights up Peña Station and Twitter critics

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Luminous Wind via Denver International Airport

DENVER | Denver International Airport unveiled new public art  — which kind of resembles a futuristic rendition of a dandelion — near Peña Boulevard. Friday. 

But in 2020, escaping coronavirus symbolism is impossible. 

The installation, called Luminous Wind, features “952 prismatic clear acrylic rods that reflect and refract sunlight during the day radiate out from a stainless-steel geodesic sphere set on a tripod of stainless-steel columns. The form of the rods is inspired by grasses of the windswept plains landscape,” according to the airport. 

But some saw something else. On Twitter Friday some piped in to say they saw a striking resemblance to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

And…

For reference, this is a photo of coronavirus particles:

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Coronaviruses, including the newest one, are named for the spikes that cover their outer surface like a crown, or corona in Latin. Using those club-shaped spikes, the virus latches on to the outer wall of a human cell, invades it and replicates, creating viruses to hijack more cells. (NIAID-RML via AP)
This 2020 electron micrsocope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. Coronaviruses, including the newest one, are named for the spikes that cover their outer surface like a crown, or corona in Latin. Using those club-shaped spikes, the virus latches on to the outer wall of a human cell, invades it and replicates, creating viruses to hijack more cells. (NIAID/NIH via AP)

And this is Luminous Wind up close:

Luminous Wind via Denver International Airport

Perhaps it’s the spikes featured in the installation that make the resemblance uncanny to some. Spikes are a defining factor of the novel coronavirus, too.

Artists Laura Haddad and Thomas Drugan created the $350,000 installation, which will be dedicated to former Denver Mayor Federico Peña in the spring. 

They say their inspiration came from the nearby landscape.

Luminous Wind has been a fantastic opportunity to fuse inspiration from the surrounding plains, the airport and the work of Federico Peña to create artwork that expresses the growing sustainable and technologically-advanced ‘Smart City’ community of Peña Station NEXT,” said co-creator Tom Drugan. “We hope it will be a beacon of inspiration, not just for the residents, but the many travelers heading to and from the airport.”

Whether a beacon of inspiration or a reminder of the nasty virus that’s wrecked havoc on all aspects of life in 2020, the new installation is sure to catch the attention of passersby.

It’s visible from the A-Line Train, which stops at Peña Staton.