Jesper Just’s “Servitudes” Explores Society’s Obsession with Youth and Beauty in November’s Midnight Moment in Times Square
November 1-30, 2015, every night from 11:57 p.m.–midnight
(New York, N.Y.) October 27, 2015—Jesper Just touches on society’s obsession with youth and beauty in Servitudes, featuring actress Dree Hemmingway, which will be shown on Times Square’s electronic billboards from 11:57 pm to midnight each night in November. This project is a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts. This month’s Midnight Moment is presented in partnership with Performa15, the world’s largest performance art Biennial.
Servitudes explores the tension between femininity and autonomy in our capitalist society. A young girl (Hemmingway) sits alone in an office eating corn. Her hands are secured by Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) devices which both aid and hinder her ability to eat. As a symbolic nod to the disparity between identity and commodity, the individual and social constructs, the woman in the film’s interaction with the audience waivers between flirtation and apathy.
Artist Jesper Just said, “Servitudes is not an individual but a construct, the embodiment of a social mechanism. She cannot criticize a system whose existence inherently begets her existence. This tension is expressed in her actions–as she eats the corn, her hands are restrained. Even the corn itself relates back to the political system–a world of GMOS and capital gain. She too is modified, manipulated, a pawn in a power play that is both hidden and transparent.”
Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, “Just when you think that you know what Times Square is, it surprises you with things like the Midnight Moment. The place and programming come together in new ways every month.”
Sherry Dobbin, Times Square Arts Director, said, “Midnight Moment is like a mirage, whereby we wonder if what we are seeing is what we think we are seeing. Nothing does this more than Jesper Just’s sense of composition of people, environment and action into a scenario which seems equally plausible and unlikely.”
Fred Rosenberg, President of the Times Square Advertising Coalition, “By working with partners such as Performa15, we bring new audiences to Times Square to enjoy the advanced technology the neighborhood has to offer.”
Harry Coghlan, Chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition, said, “Jesper Just’s piece epitomizes what we want from the Midnight Moment – for locals and visitors to look up, to wonder, to be amazed, to know this moment cannot happen anywhere else but the Crossroads of the World.”
RoseLee Goldberg, Founding Director and Curator Performa, said, “Jesper has a way of slowing down time, and making us see the world around us quite differently. The fact that he can do this at midnight in Times Square, one of the busiest crossroads imaginable, is a gift to the city. It is thrilling to collaborate once again with Times Square Arts, as we have done for the past four Performa biennials, and to bring Performa 15 to the very heart of New York in this way.”
The following digital screens are participating in the November Midnight Moment:
ABC SuperSign, American Eagle Times Square, Bank of America, Branded Cities 7 Times Square, Branded Cities NASDAQ Tower Times Square, Branded Cities Thomson Reuters, Outfront Media 1515 Broadway/ Viacom North & South, CEMUSA, City Outdoor, Clear Channel Spectacolor HD127/CNN, Clear Channel Spectacolor HD128, Morgan Stanley Lights on Broadway, Sherwood Equities 1 Times Square, Superior Digital Displays Three Times Square #5, Superior Digital Displays Triple Play
About Midnight Moment
Midnight Moment is the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on electronic billboards and newspaper kiosks throughout Times Square every night. The program premiered in May 2012 and is organized and supported by the Times Square Advertising Coalition in partnership with Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, with additional partners of participating sign holders and artists.
Each night, Times Square becomes a digital art gallery through dazzling visuals on select billboards and newsstands. Every show begins at 11:57 p.m. with a “countdown” that signals the start of the three minute nightly presentation. Past artists featured in the program include Shahzia Sikander; Rashaad Newsome; Osgemeos; Eric Dyer; Richard Garet; Andy Warhol; Peggy Ahwesh; Marco Brambilla; Rafaël Rozendaal; Sebastian Errazuriz; Charles Atlas and Antony; Noah Hutton; Ryoji Ikeda; Daniel Canogar; Alfredo Jaar; Isaac Julien; Robert Wilson; Tracey Emin; Seoungho Cho; Vicki DaSilva, Surabhi Saraf, and Elly Cho; Erika Janunger; Takeshi Murata; Bel Borba with Burt Sun and André Costantini; Zach Nader; Brian Gonzalez (aka Taxiplasm); Björk; JR; Ryan McGinley; Jack Goldstein; Nature Theater of Oklahoma; Ezra Wube; Laleh Khorramian; Brian Dailey; Leslie Thornton; and Yoko Ono. For more information on past projects, please visit: http://www.timessquarenyc.org/times-square-arts/projects/midnight-moment/index.aspx
Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) is a trade association comprised of major advertisers, retailers, real estate firms, media companies and other businesses involved in the outdoor sign industry in Times Square, along with organizations representing Broadway and the community. Members of TSAC include: ABC Regional Sports & Entertainment Sales, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Daktronics, D3 LED, Digital Domination, Hines Management, Jamestown One Times Square, Lamar Advertising Company, Landmark Sign & Electric, Metro Media Technologies, Newmark Knight Frank, North Shore Neon, P.R.omotion!, Sherwood Outdoor, SL Green, Times Square Alliance, The WOW Factor and Thomson Reuters. www.timessquareadcoalition.org.Follow TSAC on twitter at @TSACNYC.
Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists and cultural institutions to experiment and engage with one of the world’s most iconic urban places. Through the Square’s electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas and popular venues, and the Alliance’s own online landscape, Times Square Arts invites leading contemporary creators to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district’s unique identity. Generous support of Times Square Arts is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit http://www.timessquarenyc.org/times-square-arts/index.aspx for more information. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @TSqArts.
Jesper Just (b. 1974 Copenhagen, Denmark) uses film technology and installation strategies as vehicles to create work that navigates an ambiguous territory, exploring questions linked to emotions, human relations, desire, gender, identity as well as those of society and physical space. The enigmatic nature of his films disrupts the traditional sense of narrative, emerging as a source of tension that unfolds as poetry, creating more questions for the viewer, rather than a transparent story. Just has works in over twenty-five museum collections, including the Guggenheim Museum (New York), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Tate Modern (London), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), and the Danish National Gallery (Denmark), among others. Recently his work has been presented at Palais de Tokyo (Paris) Portland Art Museum; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul) and the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (Denmark). Just represented Denmark at the 2013 Venice Biennale and in 2005, he launched the first Performa Biennial in New York with a Performa Commission entitled “True Love is Yet to Come.” Jesper Just is represented by James Cohan Gallery, Galerie Perrotin, Paris, and Galleri Nicolai, Copenhagen.
Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Since launching New York’s first performance biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity, and as a “museum without walls” providing important art historical heft to the field, showing the development of live art in all its forms and from many different cultural perspectives, reaching back to the Renaissance and beyond. The Performa Biennial is celebrated worldwide as the first biennial to give specialized attention to this remarkable history, transforming the city of New York into the “world capital of artists performance” every other November. Performa attracts a national and international audience of more than 200,000 and receives more than five million hits on its website during its run of three weeks. In the last decade, Performa has presented 592 performances, worked with 732 artists, and has toured commissioned performances in 17 countries around the world.
For more on Performa and its programs including the Performa Biennial, please visit