Bringing Artists Back To Times Square:
Times Square Arts Announces Fall And Winter Residency At The Crossroads Program Participants
New York, NY – September 16, 2015 – Times Square Arts announced today the artists that will participate in their Residency at the Crossroads program for Fall 2015 and Winter 2015-2016. This fall’s residency by writer, performer and choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili, in partnership with New York Foundation for the Arts, will explore the potential of creating one song from the disparate collection of voices that converge on Times Square. During the Winter of 2015-2016, as part of a six-month partnership with Eyebeam, composer Kenneth Kirschner & visualist and software designer Joshue Ott will develop a smartphone app that transforms the way that one sees and hears Times Square and other urban places.
The Residency at the Crossroads program’s focus is to bring artists back to Times Square at the earliest point in creating new work for urban centers and use this iconic place as a laboratory for uncovering how users of public places behave and identify with an area. The artists’ subsequent discoveries, in turn, provide the Alliance with qualitative research to use in developing future programming for Times Square, New York’s town square.
Each residency is three-months and allows NYC-based artists time for reflection, exploration and experimentation in artistic spaces that are usually available only on the day of a performance or installation. The results may take shape as interventions, performances, events, published findings or project proposals. Artist R. Luke DuBois is currently finishing the inaugural residency by creating a video portrait based upon self-generated imagery from social media engagement, staged interventions and usage of EarthCam footage on the 24-hour cameras that share Times Square with the globe.
During the Fall of 2015, Okwui Okpokwasili will work with Peter Born to engage with visitors in Times Square, capture their voices and create a song at the Crossroads of the World, questioning whether the neighborhood can serve as a global commons for creative dialogue and exchange. By asking people to tell her what they’ve always wanted to share with the world, Okpokwasili will explore whether a common cry, idea or desire emerges from their comments. Her residency will run from mid-September to mid-December 2015.
During the Winter 2015-2016, a collaborative project by visualist/software designer Joshue Ott and composer Kenneth Kirschner will involve researching and developing mobile technologies for visual and sound art to create a free, publicly available smartphone app. The app will be designed to respond to and interact with the specific audiovisual, informational and physical environment of Times Square. The results may create a device that allows one to quickly revise and rehear an environment that seems too difficult to reimagine. Their residency will run from January – March 2016 and begins in the Fall as the artists work with the Eyebeam team on initial technology development.
Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, “Now more than ever, it is necessary for us to test how people perceive Times Square – where some see obstacles to be tackled, others see assets to be activated. Artists have a long history in Times Square and have always been instrumental in redefining this conversation at crucial points in our history.”
Sherry Dobbin, Times Square Arts Director, said, “With each residency, we have sought partnerships that attract artists with different methodologies. By nature of coming from different genres — performance, visual arts, or conceptual arts — the artists’ processes for experimenting with Times Square will be different. The panel responded positively to the risks of both of these proposals. Each investigates questions the artists are not sure they can answer and associates different values as being central to Times Square.”
Fall 2015 Artist Okwui Okpokwasili said, “Times Square really frightens me, I always feel pulled, pushed and pumped there, I feel like I’ve fallen into deep water and I can’t swim—It fills me with a kind of delicious dread to see if a multitude of people will communicate an essential message to me and how I might compose that into a song to be shared.”
Winter 2015-2106 Artists Kenneth Kirschnner and Joshue Ott, said, “We’re very excited to begin working with Times Square Arts, and continue working with Eyebeam, as part of this new residency program. Times Square offers some of the richest and densest audiovisual inputs on the planet, and we can’t wait to see what the output will look like.”
Michael L. Royce, Executive Director of the New York Foundation for the Arts, said, “It has been a rewarding pleasure to work with Times Square Arts on their inaugural Residency at the Crossroads program. We’re thrilled that NYFA Fellow Okwui Okpokwasili will have the opportunity to explore such an iconic public space over time and I’m looking forward to seeing her develop her own interpretation of this crossroads of cultures, voices and faces, so representative of New York itself.”
Roddy Schrock, Director of Eyebeam, said, “Eyebeam is delighted to be collaborating with Times Square Arts Alliance. This inaugural collaboration highlights Eyebeam’s mission of supporting artists who work to engage communities with the potential of emerging technology. We are confident and excited to follow Kenneth Kirschner and Joshue Ott as they develop bold sound and vision works which utilize a fresh approach in creative digital practice, with Times Square as an exciting and large scale public platform for experimentation.”
Individual applicants or small collaborative groups of artists based in New York City may apply for the 2015-16 Residency at the Crossroads. The residency is open to artists of all disciplines who are interested in working in the public realm, not just those who already consider themselves public artists. Eligible applicants include visual artists, writers, poets, architects, designers, musicians, filmmakers, composers and choreographers. Multi-disciplinary collaborators are encouraged; the selection process aims to represent the greatest diversity of applicants and art forms.
Times Square Arts Residency at the Crossroads is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more information, please visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org/Arts.