Pittsburghers will look to the sky tonight and tomorrow to find messages in the air.
A small airplane will use white smoke to write common advertising phrases like “SPACE AVAILABLE,” “ALL SALES FINAL,” and “EVERYTHING MUST GO” in the city sky as part of Carnegie Mellon University Professor of Art Kim Beck’s “The Sky is the Limit” project.
The block letters will be written one mile high, and Beck says people should be able to see them all across the city at 6 o’clock tonight and 10 a.m. Saturday.
Beck says she expects a variety of reactions.
“I think some people will be utterly confused by it. I think some people will think it’s actually advertising something but then not know what the advertisement’s for, and then I think some people will make the leap and have an environmentalist read on it. Maybe somebody will read ‘Everything Must Go’ and it’ll have kind of a personal resonance.”
After the ‘performance’ is finished, Beck will install large pictures of the skywriting in storefronts downtown. Beck says while the skywriting will fade in an hour or less, the pictures will be a permanent reminder of the impermanent – another theme she calls central to the work.
Beck says she got the idea to depict advertising phrases from the overabundance of them during the recent economic recession. She says while they often mean “good deals” on the consumer’s end, they also mean a lost job or a company closing at the seller’s end.