Opening today for Veterans Day, a new pavilion designed by Brooklyn-based Matter Architecture Practice aims to bring a little Peace and Quiet to the hectic liveliness of Times Square. The new temporary pavilion, built yesterday and set to remain standing through November 16 is described as a "dialogue station" by its architects. "It is a tranquil place to meet, share stories, leave a note, shake hands, or meet a veteran in person," Matter continues on its website. Times Square "seemed the ideal circumstance (or mad challenge) to initiate and inform a poignant exchange of ideas, to will intimacy in an instance of its opposite." Matter's principals, Sandra Wheeler and Alfred Zollinger, proposed the pavilion as part of the Times Square Alliance's Public Art Program's call for proposals. The project was selected from around 400 entries and later funded through Kickstarter. Located at the opposite end of Times Square from the US Army Recruiting Station, Peace and Quiet aims to provide a refuge and portal for veterans returning to civilian life to meaningfully engage with a public that the veterans might not otherwise encounter. The pavilion provides an opportunity for quiet discussion in the middle of one of New York's busiest public spaces where 500,000 people pass through daily. "Discussions between civilians and veterans often fall prey to judgment, stereotypes, or bi-partisan politics simply because these two groups do not know enough about one another," said Wheeler in a statement. "Through conversations focusing on the human experience, we’ve been surprised to discover that there is significantly more common ground than one would think. These are the kinds of conversations we, as a civic society, need to have." Peace and Quiet is open daily at the foor of the TKTS steps in Times Square from 12:00pm until 8:00pm through November 16.
Posts tagged with "Times Square Alliance":
Last year, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) got their heart broken by the Times Square Alliance, which chose a hula-hoop happy design by Freecell Studio for its annual Times Square Valentine's installation. Now a spokesperson from the Alliance admits that they always "loved" BIG's design and were willing to give it a second chance. This year, the Alliance didn't go online looking for love. Instead, they went back to a former flirtation, and chose BIG's entry from last year, shunning the possibility of outside suitors. BIG calls its 10-foot high glowing heart sculpture "BIG♥NYC." The design affair was something of a ménage à quatre, with Flatcut (the fabricator), Local Projects (the interaction designers), and Zumtobel (the lighting designers) pitching in on the effort. Four-hundred LED-lit acrylic tubes wrap a cube that bounds a suspended heart. Not surprisingly, when touched the heart grows brighter.
Next time you are in Times Square, don't be shy when you see a spotlight-- no matter how lame your dance moves are, you are guaranteed an explosive roar of applause from an invisible, enthusiastic crowd of people as long as you are moving. (What a refreshing departure from the notorious American Idol jury.) This location-appropriate spotlight installation is an interactive public art work by Adam Frank, an installation artist and a product inventor, whose body of work "represents an ongoing investigation of light and interactivity." His shadow-casting oil lamp, LUMEN, is one of the MoMA Store’s best-selling items. Frank's Performer installation near Times Square--a spotlight, speakers, and an "auto-affirmation" machine--provides a virtual 500-person audience culled from hundreds of live recorded reactions, such as clapping, whistling, hooting, and mumbling. Unsuspecting visitors passing by will only see a spotlight, while speakers, motion sensor, and wiring are cleverly hidden in the semi-enclosed breezeway, a location that effectively provides an open acoustic environment that can make the mechanics of the installation invisible. While the recorded enthusiasm begins when someone walks into the spotlight, it will increase or decrease depending on the performer's motion. There are even uncomfortable coughs and awkward throat-clearings if you stop being charming by standing still. "Performer flips the typical viewer-and-artwork relationship: the viewer's performance is necessary to activate and control the work," said Frank. This reversal of roles is especially potent against the backdrop of the flashy Theater District, where normally a passive, receptive role is expected. "Over a year ago, we got over 400 responses to our open call for art projects in Times Square--the second we saw this, we knew we wanted to do it, " said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. "For over 100 years, Times Square has been a magnet for people who love being in the spotlight, and that particular phenomenon has only intensified, with technology's help, in recent years." While Tompkins rightly points out the relationship between technology and stardom--what with all the Youtube fames, blog stardom and whatnot--what modern technology enabled us to do may not be true to the classic concept of being a star, a performer--a light-and-stage kind, a la old Broadway. Instead, more and more "stars" are born off-stage, often secluded in their dark room with a brightly-lit Macbook. Frank's Performer, then, is a classic throwback, demanding a public performance with a physical spotlight (but with a forgiving audience). So next time you want to practice for that dreaded final review or presentation, bring your architectural models to the most easygoing 500-people panel of all. WHEN: Open to the public Oct 13th to Nov 22nd WHERE: Anita's Way at the Bank of America Tower, One Bryant Park (Passageway connecting West 42nd and West 43rd St.) Photos by Ariel Rosenstock.
The Times Square Alliance has partnered with Spanish collaborative mmmm… as part of an experiment in urban furniture design. The result, Meeting Bowls, is a series of three over-sized semi-spherical capsules that provide seating for up to eight people. Over the course of the next month, these exaggerated forms will invite engaging social interactions along Broadway Boulevard in Times Square. Inside the bowls, there is a feature which allows one to record and share their dialogue via smartphones or laptops. Meeting Bowls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight daily through September 16th.