Storming Times Square
Storming Times Square was a massive multi-channel video installation synchronized on the electronic billboards in Time Square. This large-scale public art project was created from a staged intervention that took place at Midtown Crossing over the span of four days in July 2014. Participants were invited to crawl on a horizontal green screen platform while being filmed by an overhead HD camera. Contributors of all ages and ethnicities were video captured, resulting in over 1,200 recordings. These images were animated in a three-minute generative artwork and screened during the month of September, from 11:57pm till midnight, nightly.
Canogar has been creating public works that utilize the gesture of crawling as a symbol of overcoming obstacles and adversity. His objective is for us to return to the posture of infancy when we first began to crawl as an act of independence and demonstration of pure will. It is through this process one can better understand struggle and hardship. The video of the participants scaling the 47 LED billboards in Times Square has also be described as a metaphor for past revolutionary upheavals like the Storming of the Bastille. The incessant progression of climbing bodies evokes triumph, but in some moments shows signs of desperation and physical strain. The video footage of participants is shown in full color as originally captured, but then transforms to individuals in silhouette; a spectrum of colored figures rising up as one against a solid background of black.
“Filming in Times Square has changed the way I think and feel about ‘the crowd’…They feel like friends and collaborators: I'm familiar with the way they move and dress, I remember specific anecdotes and words we exchanged before and after their participation, and to see them give themselves over so generously to the art project makes me feel so thankful. Young and old, all ethnic backgrounds and nationalities, I now feel the crowd not as an anonymous conglomeration but as an aggregate of individuals, each and every one with his/her challenges and hopes.” – Canogar, Daniel (2014, August 29) NYC Visitors Scale the Building of Times Square in Daniel Canogar’s Literal ‘Motion’ Picture, Storming Time Square
Canogar intends to use this type of public intervention to have viewers ‘project’ themselves, literally and figuratively, onto their immediate environments. His previous work entitled Clandestinos (Clandestine), was projected on a triumphal arch that served as a gateway to the city of Madrid. Clandestinos was created to not only address history but monuments and national boundaries; global humanitarianism and immigration. Not unlike Storming Times Square, Clandestinos filmed participants from two overhead HD cameras – one to mask out the green screen and the other as a live edit to accumulate the images of the contributors projected against the arch.
Krzysztof Wodiczko’s public projections also give life to historical monuments and public buildings. Homeless Projection: Place des Arts, 2014 shared audio and video of the homeless, giving voice to survivors, immigrants, and other marginalized citizens no longer able to stand as witness. This site specific large-scale project on the façade of Théâtre Maisonneuve offered individuals the space to share their story. It is through participation we are able to increase awareness and community engagement.
In Storming Times Square, Canogar invites the viewer to engage as active participant in the creative development process; inspiring participation in community and their immediate surroundings. The contributor is able to escape their technology bubble and become part of a larger environment in an energetic, positive and playful way.
“Daniel Canogar created the ultimate Times Square experience, giving every visitor the opportunity to experience their fifteen minutes of fame and be showcased on our billboards.” – Tompkins, Tim (2014, August 29) NYC Visitors Scale the Building of Times Square in Daniel Canogar’s Literal ‘Motion’ Picture, Storming Time Square
Storming Times Square is the largest participatory public project filmed and featured in New York City’s Time Square. It was part of the Midnight Moment program, organized and supported by the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC), Times Square Arts.
Video excerpts from Storming Times Square were included as part of the following:
Daniel Canogar: Rise / Time Square July 2014, 2015
Vogel, Carol (2014, July 17) The Morgan Gets a Gift: A Lichtenstein Trove Times Square Climbers”, The New York Times.