Work in progress: RYAN! Feddersen making interactive magic
August 30, 2021

RYAN! inspecting one of the 22 glass panels featuring clouds, which will float over Concourse B. (Credit: Brock Johnson)

Quick update: This article was written in 2021. Want to read more about the new PDX?

When you enter the new Concourse B, you won't just see and feel "Inhabitance," RYAN! Feddersen's installation honoring the varied terrain of the PNW. You'll move through it: Metal lenticular portraits that appear to shift as you pass (think of those ridged stickers that look like they’re blinking as you move them back and forth). A rainbow-dappled sky with shimmering glass clouds. A wood-slat wall incised with patterns.

The clouds in RYAN!s PDX installation have a moiré effect and may appear to roll as you look at them. (Credit: Glasmalerei Peters Studios) 

In 2020, we spoke to the Tacoma artist, who is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, about the origins of her piece. She’s been hard at work getting everything ready to go, and so we wanted to check in with RYAN! on the eve of the work’s November unveiling. 

How is the installation going?

Things are coming along well! Everything has gone through final prototyping and is coming up to the last push.  

Proposal rendering of the intricately designed wall in Concourse B. Want to see it move? Just step left or right. (Credit: ZGF Architects + RYAN! Feddersen

How has the work evolved as you've fabricated it?

In essence, the work has stayed very true to the proposal, but some details have altered. I had originally imagined the wood insets working differently, but wood moves over time and curved cuts move more. We switched to a routed effect, so there's much more structural stability. 

Were there any creative challenges you didn't anticipate?

When I designed the piece, it was all pre-COVID. I planned to travel to all the sites I photographed [for the lenticular portraits] — and did, but travel was very different during COVID than I anticipated. Luckily, I have a mini cargo van, so I could drive around and camp in the car with my partner.

To photograph the landscapes in her installation, RYAN! drove all over the state in her trusty van. (Credit: Brock Johnson)

Have you gotten to see the work on site yet?

I've only seen renderings and tabletop models. They did build a mini prototype in a disused corner of the airport with a portion of the wall and window box. We demoed putting the metal panels in, and so I got to see how the lenticular worked at full scale. Before that, it was just math.

RYAN! has designed four lenticular portraits of Oregon landscapes that look back at you, too. Pictured is an early model and a mini prototype of the lenticular at full scale. (Credit: RYAN! Feddersen)

So you're going to see the finished piece only a little while before the public!

My background is as an installation artist, so the way of working where you plan thoroughly and make a lot of pieces and components, but cannot actually see it in person until it happens, is [familiar]. It is definitely more stressful than making a two-dimensional piece in a studio, but it's exciting and rewarding.