Equestrian art exists in many airports: Seattle and San Francisco have bronze horses shaped like driftwood, central Illinois has wire horses suspended from the ceiling, Tucson has a winged horse, Barcelona has a burly horse.
None of them have a horse like Blucifer.
The cobalt, devil-eyed, vein-striped steed, which rears 32 feet tall in the middle of the field outside Denver International Airport, has terrified travelers and mobilized conspiracy theorists since arriving 15 years ago. First, though, it kills its creator.
Artist Luis Jimenez designed the statue, officially titled “Mustang,” in reference to Mexican murals and the vibrancy of the Southwest, with glowing red eyes in homage to his father’s neon workshop. The horse represents something darker: In 2006, while Mr. Jimenez was finishing the 9,000-pound fiberglass cast sculpture, a loose piece fatally severed an artery in his leg.
A murderous giant stallion makes sense as a mascot for a notorious airport, and a nearby art installation could misunderstanding As descriptions and rumors of the Covid-19 virus — that a human-reptilian race lived under the facility — could surface on the popular sitcom “Abbott Elementary.” Actor Macaulay Culkin is known for navigating the horrors of Manhattan during the holiday season, tweets “The Denver airport is the scariest place I’ve ever been in my life.”
Mass delusions about election fraud and baseless rumors about the Covid-19 pandemic and environmental catastrophe have permeated mainstream discourse and the upper echelons of government authority in recent American history. Technology continues to distort reality. The rioters at the U.S. Capitol and the perpetrators of the mass shooting have cited conspiracy theories about nefarious political and racist plots.
Denver Airport is far less dire — less a society-shaking assault on truth than an ongoing experiment to see if institutional allegorism can be fun sometimes.
An official statement attributed to “Senior Illuminati Spokesperson” An employee showed up at a stupid video To explain a dubious inscription in the Great Hall: “AU AG”, she said, does not stand for the Australian antigen, which is linked to the viral hepatitis that conspiracy theorists have linked to the genocidal plague. Instead, it nods to gold and silver, metals that are central to Colorado’s mining history.
Denver airport bombastic stories tend not to be particularly dangerous or politically salient, replaced by an ongoing fascination with aliens, the paranormal, “all kinds of bullshit,” says political science professor and conspiracy theorist Joseph Usinski. University of Miami.
“If I were to try to dispel conspiracy theories or misinformation out of people, would alien beliefs or the Illuminati be at the top of my list? No, I would probably be more concerned with something more closely related to political extremism or poor health decisions, “He said.
Furthermore, changing people’s minds is often difficult, as the airport case study shows.
“Often, our beliefs reflect our underlying ideologies and tendencies,” he said. “So you’re not just fighting aliens or Illuminati beliefs, you’re fighting an entire worldview.”
At the Denver airport, the stickiness of the website myth means any news — like the airport’s top administrator losing ground in a major federal appointment this year, or a temporary closure 2,000 parking spaces – Can be fodder for online claims of secret plots and ominous motives.
Earlier this year, a statement garnered attention on TikTok that a “new” art installation in Hall A legitimized the flat-Earth conspiracy theory.Video trying to give conspiratorial meaning to tiled global map laid beneath arched train tracks and titanium poles has accumulation Over 1.5 million views. Airport staff noted that the piece was nearly 30 years old, represent The past and future of transportation.
When Stacey Stegman, who oversaw communications at the airport, took over a decade ago, her colleagues were tired of local legends. For Ms. Stegman, the airport’s reputation as the uncle of international aviation is part of its appeal, an opportunity to raise Denver’s profile for travelers who may not know the city well and for airlines looking to expand into new destinations.
In 2019, she supported a plan to install a temporary facility An electric gargoyle named Greg (short for Gregoriden) in one of the halls saying wisecracks like “Welcome to Illuminati HQ”. A deal was struck with the airport in Roswell, New Mexico, a so-called hotspot for alien sightings, to become a “Supernatural Sisters Airport’. Ms. Stegman even wanted to decorate her sprawling property with crop circles for the airport’s 20th birthday (it ended up being too expensive).
“We worked really hard for a few years,” she said. “We did learn some lessons from that.”
one Marketing activitiesin connection with the renovation program that began in 2018, including poster The aliens joked about the facility’s “secrets” – suggesting that construction crews were building a “gargoyle breeding ground” or hiding Masonic meetings. According to the airport, the campaign generated publicity worth more than $8 million.
True believers hate it.
“Some people are very disturbed by this because they think, ‘Oh, now they’re making fun of us, they’re hiding in plain sight, they’re covering up evil,'” Ms Stegman said. “Ninety-nine percent of the people see it for what it is, but for everyone else, we try to say, ‘Look, this shouldn’t be hurtful, know we’re joking, this isn’t serious. ‘”
Two gargoyles remained in the baggage claim area to protect luggage, including Greg, a quieter electronic toy; Ms Stegman said the original had “triggered” some people who thought it was blatantly evil. Airport managers are also no longer downplaying conspiracy theories that have proven to have racist or otherwise offensive origins, such as the “Lizard Man” narrative rooted in anti-Semitic tropes.
“You learn and grow — we’ve slowed down a little bit on that,” Ms Stegman said. “Now we’re going back to more traditional advertising.”
According to Dylan Thuras, co-founder of Atlas Obscura, a travel media company that focuses on unusual destinations, the airport straddles two traditions of American lying. Over the past decade, airports have increasingly become a space dominated by online conspiracy theories that may focus on physical places and urban planning concepts, such as the 15-minute city, without translating into actual tourism.
Then there’s the kitsch folklore that has inspired several groups in Washington state to offer Bigfoot-hunting expeditions; one has a $245 day trip that includes a class in “Tips Proven to Attract Sasquatch.”
“If you’re a tourism board, it’s very difficult to compete on your wineries or on your beaches because there are wineries everywhere and beaches in many places,” Mr Thuras said. “People are drawn to fairy tales.”
In Denver—a city built on parks over thousands of dead bodies streets polluted by radiumPsychedelic Art Installation Masquerading as an interdimensional portal and a restaurant, it’s located in the morgue that reportedly once housed the remains of Buffalo Bill Cody – it seems that everyone who encounters has an image of the airport.
Restaurant waiters said the runway was shaped like a swastika (airport representatives vehemently denied this, explaining that the design allowed for multiple simultaneous takeoffs and landings). Airline employees have reported sightings of ghosts and claim that Native American music is played at night to appease the spirits of the dead buried in the ground (Ms Stegman says there are no graves and the music is part of the art installation, if not picky sound system , will always be on). Uber drivers believe that the dirt left over from the construction of the airport was used to build artificial mountains to store food for the end of the world (Ms Stegman just laughed and said she hadn’t heard of it).
When Denver’s airport opened in 1995, it was 16 months behind schedule and $2 billion over budget. These difficulties have drawn legal complaints and government investigations, but also rumors circulating online and locally that the extra time and cost have been spent on sinister design modifications—including access to underground conference facilities, survival bunkers, hundreds of tunnels deep underground. Multi-mile tunnel military base, even the North American Aerospace Defense Command near Colorado Springs.
The airport’s insular location and bewildering size — its land holdings make it the second-largest airport in the world, after King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia, and bigger than actual U.S. cities like San Francisco Big-Fit for online access complains that it will one day be used as a prison or a concentration camp by a mysterious totalitarian global government known as the New World Order.
But according to Ms Stegman, the airport’s gigantic layout is actually a foresight with future growth and efficiency in mind. If anything, the design should be more ambitious – it was originally intended to support 50 million travelers a year, but nearly 70 million passed through it last year, and it’s expected to pass nearly 100 million a year by 2030.
To combat congestion, the airport recently embarked on a $1.3 billion project to upgrade and expand its concourse. This work pushes some of the strangest points of interest out of sight.
which includes a pair of 28-foot mural Leo Tanguma’s work is intended to depict the post-war situation of human beings living in peace with the environment. But over the past few decades, an even more shocking interpretation has emerged: artwork featuring a soldier in a gas mask brandishing a rifle and sword, destroyed buildings and weeping mothers holding their dead The image of the child is a prophecy of the end of the world.
Sarah Magnatta, an assistant professor of global contemporary art at the University of Denver, said artwork in an airport often feels like a surprise, unlike something in a museum or gallery. A mural or installation in a terminal can increase the exposure of local artists and add dimension to an otherwise functional space, she said.
“I actually think that’s the best way to look at art—as it happens to you,” Dr. Magnata said. “It’s an art that’s integrated into everyday life, that you’re forced to encounter whether you want to or not, and that can be a really powerful thing and a conversation starter.”
The removal of the Denver airport mural sparked rumors on Telegram channels and Reddit forums that the construction was a cover to hide the truth. Ms Stegman said the airport would always accept the “conspiracy part” of its identity but would not try to hide anything.
As for the mysterious disappearance of the mural? They are temporarily stored to avoid damage and will be returned.