San Diego International Airport unveiled on Wednesday a 1,600-foot long digital installation bringing “living, breathing” art to the facade of the new rental car center.

Titled “DAZZLE,” the permanent installation is made up of 2,100 e-paper panels, each solar-powered and computer-controlled, attached to the building’s facade along Pacific Highway.

The panels act as individual pixels to collectively display more than 15 artist-designed animations “that evoke everything from water ripples to moving traffic to dancing snowflakes,” according to artist Nik Hafermaas of the Ueberall International artistic team.

“It represents a living, breathing demonstration of what could become a radical transformation of building facades around the world,” said Hafermaas, who chairs the graphic design department at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena.

The work is named for dazzle camouflage, a type of ship camouflage used in World War I. By use of stripes and other patterns, dazzle camouflaged the outlines of ships.

The Ueberall team partnered with E Ink Corp., which produces the displays used by some models of the Amazon Kindle as well as many electronic watches.

DAZZLE pushes the boundaries of what’s possible for electronic paper,” said Paul Apen, chief strategy Officer of E Ink.

The bold graphic elements and animations will be seen daily by hundreds of thousands of motorists driving by on Interstate 5 and riding the San Diego trolley and North County Transit District Coaster.

“There is nothing like this — in terms of scale and artistic use of this sustainable technology in art — anywhere in the world,” said Kimberly J. Becker, president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. “We’ve taken a functional building and turned it into a vibrant artwork.

The installation was commissioned through a competitive process in 2015 specifically for the new rental car center. The $875,000 project was funded under the airport’s public art program by a 2 percent allocation of the rental center’s construction costs.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.