Katherine Frazer, Magic Move 4 (video still). Photo courtesy of the artist and Times Square Arts.
Times Square Arts, the largest public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts, is pleased to present their Spring Season Arts Program featuring Midnight Moments from multidisciplinary artists Katherine Frazer (March), Mark Dorf (April), andIlana Harris-Babou (May).
Midnight Moment is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on over 90 electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57pm to midnight. The Spring 2023 program features video works touching on themes of technology and humanity, the future of the natural world, and the simultaneously empowering and challenging experience of motherhood.
Katherine Frazer: Magic Move 4
March 1-31, 2023 | Nightly 11:57-Midnight
Co-presented with Public Works Administration
Every night in March, artist and software designer Katherine Frazer brings her meditative digital paintings to Times Square in Magic Move 4. Subverting the presentation software and productivity applications she helped design, Frazer creates an animation consisting of digitally manipulated presentation slides, sequenced via a default setting in Keynote called “Magic Move.” Images have been pulled from the artist’s personal archive to form hundreds of layers which extend, cascade, rotate, and dance around the frame, creating a never ending loop. Her Ikebana practice – a process-oriented style of Japanese floral arrangement – inspires her iterative process as well as her source material. Through 3D scans of floral bouquets and photos taken on her iPhone, Frazer builds new digital arrangements and landscapes from captured snippets of the physical world.
“I was previously designing the constraints and limitations of these apps. Now, I am looking for ways to surprise myself, and use them to unintended ends. While they’re built for professional use, it’s heartening to think there are opportunities for play even in the most mundane of places. Tools are what you make of them,” says Frazer.
A musical accompaniment to Magic Move 4 has been produced by Estle, an electronic music project created by the Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist Keegan Gomm. Created to capture the unfurling and elegant maximalism of Frazer’s work while simultaneously serving as a background ambient accompaniment, this musical piece is the embodiment of a slow and peaceful afternoon.
April 1-30, 2023 | Nightly 11:57-Midnight
Mark Dorf: A New Nature
Co-presented with Public Works Administration
This April in Times Square, Mark Dorf questions the future of the natural world in his work A New Nature. Neither a blockbuster-style apocalypse nor an Edenic return to primitive earth, the future Dorf presents in A New Nature is mediated, supported, suppressed, amplified, and interrupted by technology, echoing the present. Dorf collapses perceived barriers between what is commonly called “Nature”, urban spaces and technological existence to reveal their entanglement as a global ecology. Each vignette depicts a cyborgian version of a familiar world that fuses nature and technology as a hybrid system of technology-organisms. This unique edit of the work was crafted specifically to complement the relentless speed of life in Times Square. As the video progresses, the pace increases emphasizing the influence of our technological lives on the way “Nature” is understood and perceived.
“The presentation of A New Nature on the screens of Times Square is an extension of the concepts in the work itself. Nestled within the endless motion and electrical currents flowing through the glowing canyons of Times Square, the moving images harmonize with their surroundings and enact their post-natural position,” says Dorf.
In April, co-presentation partner, Public Works Administration, located in the 50th street subway station, will feature Mark Dorf’s A New Nature film in its entirety. This screening complements Dorf’s A New Nature Midnight Moment and offers a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the work as a long-form film in an intimate underground setting.
May 1-31, 2023 | Nightly 11:57-Midnight
Ilana Harris-Babou: Liquid Gold
Co-presented with The Wellcome Collection
Curated by Pamela Council
This May, frothy milk bubbles over the screens of Times Square in Liquid Gold, in which Ilana Harris-Babou considers the passing down of maternal knowledge and the invisible labor that has historically surrounded the act of breastfeeding. Transforming the media architecture of Times Square into an immersive, dream-like canvas, sequences of closely cropped vignettes of milk and baby formula ingredients slowly ebb and flow. Informed by conversations with the artist’s family members chronicling both the challenging and empowering experience of motherhood as Black women, Liquid Goldalso amplifies the unique position milk holds within broader global politics and social economies, and showcases the complexity of a seemingly everyday substance. Accompanying the work is a soundtrack by the British-Irish composer Anna Clock referencing All the Pretty Little Horses, a lullaby believed to have been sung by enslaved African-American mothers to their children.
“The video explores the ways intimate moments both inform, and are informed by, larger societal structures. By magnifying a familiar and essential substance, I seek to amplify the overlooked realities of intergenerational care. Showing the video at a large scale in Times Square will invite an even broader audience into the conversation. I hope folks will bring their own memories and associations when experiencing the work,” says Harris-Babou.
A longer version of the video was commissioned for the forthcoming exhibition Milk at Wellcome Collection in London, UK, exploring our relationship with human and dairy milk and its place in politics, society and culture. The exhibition features over 100 items including historical objects, artworks, and new commissions. This free exhibition runs from 30 March – 10 September 2023.
Harris-Babou’s Midnight Moment presentation is curated by Pamela Council, an alum of the Midnight Moment program and artist behind the Times Square Arts 2021 commission A Fountain for Survivors.
ABOUT KATHERINE FRAZER
Artist Katherine Frazer draws on her experience as a software designer to subvert presentation software and productivity applications such as Figma and Keynote (products she helped design), to create her digital paintings. Frazer’s work has been included in Rhizome’s Artbase and Museum of Crypto Art’s collection, featured in Codame Art and Tech Festival, Dazed Digital, Nylon Mag, and PAPER Magazine, with commissions for NewHive and MTV. She was invited to be one of the first fifty artists on NFT platform Foundation. Frazer graduated with degrees in Communication Design and Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University. Frazer is based in Brooklyn, New York.
ABOUT MARK DORF
Mark Dorf is a New York based artist whose practice utilizes photography, video, digitalmedia, and sculpture. Often working directly with ecologists and technologists in the production of his works, Dorf is influenced by human’s perceptions of and interactions with what we call “Nature”, urbanism, design, and virtual environments. As opposed to seeing these subjects as categorically separate, Dorf reveals their entanglement and integration with one another as an inclusive and lively planetary ecology. Being both self-aware and critical of their own means of production, Dorf’s works craft a vision of a more inclusive ecological future helping to navigate away from environmental collapse in the Anthropocene and imagine a “New Nature.”
ABOUT ILANA HARRIS-BABOU
Ilana Harris-Babou is an interdisciplinary artist whose work spans sculpture and installation and video, and examines the ways we find community and identity in everyday objects. She has presented solo exhibitions of her work internationally. Institutions include: The Highline, NY (2022), Artspace, New Haven, CT (2022); Kunsthaus Hamburg, Germany (2021); ICA Chattanooga, TN (2021); and The Museum of Arts and Design, NY (2017). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions including 52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (2022); the Istanbul Design Biennial, Turkey (2020); and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, NY (2019).
Estle (@3stl.e on Instagram) is an electronic music project created by multidisciplinary artist Keegan Gomm. Based in Toronto, they’ve been active as Estle since 2020 with the self-release of their debut single Hope Clouds.
The thesis of the project is to create sincere reflections of natural spaces and phenomena tied together with myth and new technologies. Through the lenses of noise, ambience, and composition for film, occasionally with pop and deconstructed club sensibilities their work is an effort in finding unity between tenderness and catharsis.
ABOUT PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION
PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION “PWA” is a digital art project space located in the 50th Street subway in Times Square. We spotlight underground artists who use digital tools to drive culture forward.
ABOUT THE WELLCOME COLLECTION
Wellcome Collection is a free museum exploring health and human experience. Its mission is to challenge how we all think and feel about health by connecting science, medicine, life and art. It offers a changing programme of curated exhibitions, museum and library collections, public events, in addition to a café. Wellcome Collection publishes books on what it means to be human, and collaborates widely to reach broad and diverse audiences, locally and globally.
Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, which supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. They support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and they’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, infectious disease, and climate and health.
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 Charles Gaines, Joan Jonas, Jeffrey Gibson, Pamela Council, Mel Chin and Kehinde Wiley, to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a cultural district and place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the arts program ensures these qualities remain central to the district’s unique identity.
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