Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport
Atlanta, Georgia, 2004

The project for Gates E-1 and E-2 in the International Terminal consists of approximately fourteen thousand one-of-a-kind business cards arranged as if on an enormous bulletin board. The cards will be placed up against one another on the wall in a continuous band 120 feet long and 5 feet high. The more typical white and off-white cards will serve as the background and the rarer colored cards will be arranged to spell out the following quotation from Roman poet Sextus Propertius: "Let each man pass his days in that endeavor wherein his gift is greatest." Taken together, the quotation and the materials of which it is constructed are intended to emphasize the importance of discovering one’s true calling in life. The cards will be permanently attached to 5' x 4' wooden panels, but will be mounted in such a way as to appear seamless. Panels of abutted glass will cover and protect the work.

I find the business card to be evocative on many different levels. Reflected in them are the accomplishments and aspirations of those they represent. In them one can find the facts of our existence: name, occupation, title, address, phone-fax-e-mail, nickname, motto, logo, mission statement, etc. In them one can read the details of our busy lives--things bought and sold, services rendered, claims and guarantees made. And in their color, texture, type style and layout one can find even a record of our far-ranging aesthetic sensibilities. The endless combinations of information and design result in the seemingly impossible. Like fingerprints, no two business cards are alike. Given the same standard format, each card somehow becomes a unique, pocket-sized self-portrait. Gathered together, they form a remarkable mosaic of human enterprise as well as an interesting archive of a particular time and place.

Locating such a project in one of the passenger holding areas of a busy international airport seems especially fitting. Before each flight, a new sampling of occupations and lifestyles will gather by chance in a room to wait. Plumbers and professors, pipe fitters and piano tuners, poets, priests, and politicians will pass through in a constant parade of infinite variety. As the parade pauses momentarily in this space, each group of travelers will become, in a sense, a bodily reflection of the artwork, and vice versa.

I see the project as not only a decorative work, but also as an engine for thought and perhaps even inspiration. I believe that the work functions on many different levels and offers something for everyone who might experience it. On a very practical level, the project provides passengers with something to do while they are waiting. With earlier business card works, I have watched as viewers spent long periods of time absorbing the wealth of information contained in the cards. Additional interactive participation will be encouraged by placing a receptacle in the waiting area inviting airport patrons to deposit their own business cards. These contributions will be added to my growing inventory of more than twenty-five thousand business cards and be used in future projects.