Dumbo is small and steep and low.
When it rains, it floods.
The streets are unsteady, the buildings are old and crumbling, yet they are being reinforced at great expense by hopeful creatives.
This damp, previously isolated industrial area is the scene of the first ever New York Festival of Light.
From three blocks away, I saw blue lights streaming up into the heavy clouds. From one block away, I saw unbelievable floating forms projected onto the face of the Manhattan Bridge, a lovely always-project (always being cleaned, always being lit up, always with a full belly of trains). A floating couple, blue.
Suddenly in the midst of all the art, I turned left (a lefty issue) and made first contact with light artist Tupac Martir’s project. I shook his hand and said exactly what the hell was on my mind: “What’s THIS?” Oh, dear- yeah, I said that. Because I met him at the center, which had me positioned where the sound bounced, or rather alighted off of seemingly everything. That’s because it wasn’t seemingly anything. The point of the installation is to exist (for about another 24 hours- so visit!) as a purely interactive + reactive soundboard.
The four cornered beams react to any touch- drips of water, falling leaves, fingertips, skimming cloth along the hypersensitive surface. The thing, the art, the boards react, which causes the humans around to react to the reaction of what could only properly be explained as a surface of life reflection. Cause and effect takes on a whole new meaning with Martir’s creation.
He calls it “back to basics, back to childhood”, because in childhood we experiment, we play, we touch and we treat the whole world like a few thousand people will have treated these boards by the time the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, 11/8.
Perhaps if we take the time to play with this inviting art creation we will not be able to help ourselves from playing, touching, learning in the tactile world. It’s material, we know, but we should spend more time exploring the senses, and Martir’s piece explodes this notion.
Check out the New York Festival of Light! – Dumbo, Brooklyn (11/8)