Nancy Baker Cahill’s Slipstream Times Square transfigures the bewildering, dizzying energy of Times Square through a pulsing, heaving, abstract artwork on 90 screens. This artwork springs from Baker Cahill’s multi-media Slipstream series, which trafficks in slipstream fiction’s familiar strange or strange familiar via “epistemological and ontological questionings about reality,” and provides the conceptual framework for the video. Slipstream Times Square, like other videos in the series, dwells in the murky territories of consciousness, but does so here multiplied, at scale, for a collective public audience. This artwork gestures towards the organic, as a simulated fiction of botanical and biomorphic forms. Spread across millions of LED nodes, It offers a familiar referent with no natural analogue.
Hybridity is the beating heart of the artwork. Slipstream Times Square attempts to collapse traditional moving images and screens with a living, breathing artwork that threatens to spill out and into open shared space. Graphite drawings, torn into sculptures which form the shifting landscape in the video, glisten as they breathe, expand, and contract. Occupying space normally reserved for capitalistic exhortations, the video slyly reveals the non-commercial analog technology of drawing, blurring its origins with dazzling pixels and bringing it to life for viewers. Slipstream Times Square aims to transform this iconic space by inviting conversations about what is real, what is alive, and what we see and feel when digital/analog boundaries are blurred.
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