MINI and London-based art practice United Visual Artists unveiled a new site-specific installation in Brooklyn this week, dubbed ‘Spirit of the City’. Set up at A/D/O, the creative space in Greenpoint, the installation probes the physical and emotional response individuals experience when navigating urban environments according to its creators. They achieved this goal by simply installing mirrors all around for an unorthodox way of displaying the world around you.
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The modular system of revolving mirrored columns showcases a dynamic composition of movement, light, shadow and reflection. The seemingly organic behavior is poetically linked to the dynamic activity of New York City. Spirit of the City was created exclusively for the outdoor courtyard at A/D/O. It will open to the public May 18, 2018 and will be on view through September 2nd. Rising over the visitor, each nine-foot column is intended to challenge personal perception while eliciting a visceral and electrifying reaction similar to the thrill one might experience when exploring a new city.
“Our goal was to create a simple, yet transformative experience that metaphorically and physically reflects the surroundings of A/D/O and New York City at large,” says Matt Clark, Founder of UVA. “Imagination and curiosity—the qualities that make us human—flourish in New York City where the stark and intriguing contrast between the built environment and living ecosystem dominates individual observation and behavior. Ultimately, Spirit of the City intends to pose the question, do our activities define our urban landscapes or do our urban landscapes define us?” added Clark.
The motion of the columns serves as a metaphor for the underlying forces that keep cities in constant transformation. Their combined rotation is orchestrated to create different patterns of motion, articulating a number of moods that range from dormant to dynamic, playful or even turbulent. These states unfold during a 24-hour cycle that has been pre-programmed to reflect the daily activity of New York, based on selected data that reveal levels of human activity in the city, such as energy demand patterns or traffic flow.
UVA aims to stir the visitor, moving through this installation, to a highly emotional and visceral reaction while alluding to deeper influences between people and the cities they live in. The polished reflective surface of each column magnifies the movement of neighboring columns and recruits the surrounding environment – the sun, sky, and Greenpoint’s industrial setting – into the experience of the piece.
As day turns to dusk, the piece takes on another personality, illuminated by sodium vapor lamps which reference the unique vibrancy of cities at night. It all looks damn interesting and it would be quite the experience to live in person. If you can’t make it to Brooklyn though, you can check things out in our photo gallery, below.