Air NZ's new inflight video art to double as sleeping aid

Long-haul Air New Zealand passengers could soon be soothed to sleep with the introduction of new artwork on the airline’s inflight entertainment programme.

The video "Delta" (see clip below), by artist and AUT University lecturer Clinton Watkins, features a continuous slow shot along a New Zealand east coast road and a gentle abstract soundtrack that incorporates delta waves.

These inaudible low frequency sound waves are present during deep sleep and the intention of the film is to pleasurably lull passengers into a sleepy state. Watkins specialises in investigating the effects that combinations of sound and vision can have on the viewer/listener.

It is one of two art works which Air New Zealand will include in its inflight entertainment programme for international flights from mid-January 2013.

This initiative is the brainchild of artist and curator Dr Melissa Laing, of AUT University’s CoLab creative technologies centre. Wanting to get art out of galleries and into public places she obtained funding from Creative New Zealand to set up New Terrains, a project which has also led to a series of digital works being shown on a giant screen at Auckland’s Aotea Centre.

Dr Laing, whose PhD thesis examined the social and artistic response to civil aviation, saw air travel as another opportunity for artwork to be seen by thousands of viewers and approached Air New Zealand which committed to screening and supporting the work.

“We [CoLab] commissioned innovative New Zealand content for an environment which doesn’t normally have artworks made for it,” says Dr Laing.

“We wanted the selected artwork to engage with the passengers’ inflight experience. We all have our own subjective idea of flight which could be to do with business, migration, diaspora, family or holiday.”

The second artwork, Pioneer City Welcome Video, by Wellington artist Bronwyn Holloway-Smith and animator/filmmaker Simon Ward is a mock inflight welcome video to a colony on Mars called Pioneer City.

Dr Laing hopes the project will inspire other airlines around the world. “There is a precedent for artworks in airports but not on planes. This will be the first.” 

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Just completed return flights between Auckland and Dubai with Emirates and found the audio books were ideal for inducing sleep. Plus alcohol! Good flights, spoiled only by the storm troopers at Sydney's security screening.

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So... sleepy....

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Passengers sleep better if their screen is turned off because the light is not in their eyes

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