Created by Latvian-British Artist Kristaps Ancāns, Visitors Can Witness a Double Rainbow From the North to South Pole Soaring Directly Over 7th Avenue In Honor of Pride Month
Times Square Arts, the largest public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts, is pleased to present Polar Rainbow, an augmented reality sculpture from Latvian-British artist Kristaps Ancāns in honor of Pride Month, from June 1- June 30, 2022. The project is curated by Corina L. Apostol (Tallinn Art Hall).
Inspired by the discovery that rainbows do not exist in the North or South pole, Ancāns’s project creates a virtual double rainbow stretching between the two poles along the 74W meridian line — the most populous meridian in the Americas, which happens to cut right through Times Square along 7th Avenue.
Ancāns created Polar Rainbow in support of communities under duress, calling for visions of empathy, awareness and solidarity. The project is inspired by the 1989 “Baltic Chain of Freedom”, when approximately two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined hands and linked arms to form a human chain. As a peaceful political demonstration, the chain spanned 430 miles across the respective countries’ borders during the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
“I believe that art today has to define new additional tasks for itself to prepare us for a world with new points of reference appearing. Historically, standing for human rights has emerged from different local contexts; since then, we have developed new technologies, and have created tools of inspiration and support that can globally unite communities. The rainbow uniting both poles reminds us of the challenges that persist and, at the same time, that the arc of temporality can bring lasting change” said artist Kristaps Ancāns.
The sculpture will be accessible via the Polar Rainbow app developed by Ancāns in close collaboration with Platvorm, a data visualization studio based in Tallinn, Estonia. Visitors and spectators can download the app through a QR code placed on a lightbox in Times Square, or online, through the Time Square Arts website. App users will be able to capture photos with the rainbow and send personalized “digital postcards” on their platforms by using the hashtag #PolarRainbow.
In the context and histories of New York and the US, the project will be launched during Pride in June, when members of the LGBTQIA+ community celebrate their identities and remember the Stonewall riots of 1969, which marked a watershed moment in their ongoing fight for justice, and full and equal civil rights. After its debut over New York City and the many communities that share the very same longitude, Polar Rainbow will be rotated around the globe, finding temporary destinations for this unifying intervention.
“Times Square has long been a space of both protest and celebration for LGBTQIA rights, and Kristaps Ancāns’ Polar Rainbow brings a timely and uplifting reminder that the ongoing pursuit of justice and equity requires global unity,” said Times Square Arts Director Jean Cooney.
Polar Rainbow is produced in cooperation with Tallinn Art Hall, the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation.
Polar Rainbow will kick off an exciting lineup of Pride events hosted in Times Square throughout the month of June. Highlights include Pride themed Playbill Monoliths at the Broadway Grand Gallery; and a weekend long Pride in Times Square celebration from June 24-26, which will feature performances and panels from Broadway shows and community organizations; a sing along at the Sing for Hope piano; and a disco themed street party.
Polar Rainbow has invited partners from various international organizations and communities to reach out to people geographically located in NYC and all along the 74W meridian line where the rainbow will be visible. The below organizations (list in formation) will share the rainbow on their platforms:
BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (NY/US), BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange (NY/US), GLITS (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society) (NY/US), Gay & Sober (NY/US), Global Black Gay Men Connect (NY/US), Gotham Cheer (NY/US), Harlem Pride (NY/US), Harlem SGL • LGBTQ Center (NY/US), Heritage of Pride (NY/US), InterPride (US), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (NY/US), Masculine Identified Lesbians of Color Collective (NY/US), Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) (International), EDGE New Jersey (NJ/US), Jersey City LGBTQ+ Pride Festival (NJ/US), Archives gaies du Québec (MON/CAN), Égale (MON/CAN), Gay & Grey Montréal (MON/CAN), Fierté Littéraire (MON/CAN), LGBT+ Family Coalition (Coalition des familles LGBT+) (MON/CAN), Queering The Map (MON/CAN), Agrupación Lésbica Rompiendo el Silencio (CL), Encargado de Vinculación LGBTI (CL), Fundación Iguales (CL), SEROvie (HT).
ABOUT KRISTAPS ANCĀNS
Kristaps Ancāns (b. Līvāni, Latvia) is an artist, writer and educator whose practice spans installation, sculpture, language and moving images. Ancāns explores the confusion in the relationship between humans, nature and machines through an evolving conceptual game with its own artificial intelligence. His installations—often containing a kinetic component—welcome questioning in their relationship with the viewer.
Ancāns has exhibited, lectured and taught at venues internationally, including Publiek Park/S.M.A.K Museum, domobaal, The Latvian National Opera and Ballet, Riga International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Art Station Dubulti, Careva Contemporary, Code Art Fair, Tate Exchange/Tate Modern, Museum of London, Royal Academy of Arts London, Hyde Park-London, Central Saint Martins/UAL, PEER, Five Years, Shoreditch Library, Derby Museum, and Art Gallery, Vienna Contemporary, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn Art Hall, Setouchi Triennale and Tokyo University of the Arts. He lives between Riga, Latvia and London, UK.
ABOUT CORINA L. APOSTOL
Dr. Corina L. Apostol (b. Constanța, Romania) is a curator at the Tallinn Art Hall, curator and member of the steering committee of the international practice-based research project Beyond Matter (2019–2023), and the curator of the Estonian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022). She currently serves as a guest lecturer at POST – MA programme of study at the Art Academy of Latvia. Previously, she was the Mellon Fellow at Creative Time, where she co-edited Making Another World Possible: 10 Creative Time Summits, 10 Global Issues, 100 Art Projects (Routledge, 2019) and co-curated the Creative Time Summit “On Archipelagoes and Other Imaginaries” (2018) in Miami. She lives between Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia.
Platvorm is a data visualization studio specialized in meshing physical and digital space. They develop concepts and build innovative digital platforms with a focus on real time data and dynamic user generated content. They are based in Tallinn, Estonia.
ABOUT TIMES SQUARE ARTS
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, such as Mel Chin, Tracey Emin, Jeffrey Gibson, Ryan McGinley, Yoko Ono, and Kehinde Wiley, 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.