All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

Sleepwalkers

by Wendy Dembo
on 17 January 2007
Install_ViewRockefellerBuilding.jpg
Install_View53rdStreet.jpg

In what could be the most-seen show in MoMA's history, Doug Aitken's "Sleepwalkers" opened last night on the coldest night of the year in NYC so far this season. Sleepwalkers is a nighttime installation comprised of continuous sequences of film scenes projected onto facades that transform West 53rd and 54th streets into a vast outdoor multiplex. Turning MoMA inside-out by bringing public art to the exterior walls of the new iconic building for the first time, the project is a joint effort between MoMA and non-profit Creative Time, famous for enlivening the city with public art. It was challenging to be outside to watch the premiere, but it was well worth it.

Filmed in New York, five interweaving vignettes follow each character—a bicycle messenger (played by Ryan Donowho, a drummer that Aitkin found in the subway, who's now appeared on "The O.C."), an electrician who fixes neon signs in Times Square (Seu Jorge of Life Aquatic and City of God fame), a postal worker (Chan Marshall aka Cat Power), a businessman (Donald Sutherland), and an office worker (Tilda Swinton)—through a night in New York. As they move from the solitude of their personal lives (waking up, drinking coffee or juice, leaving their apartments) to their workplace and unexpected encounters, the interconnected narratives emerge.

The eight gigantic projections, averaging 30’ x 60’, engage with the architecture in a way that I have never experienced before. You can see two of the projections from an adjoining street and walking toward the museum gives you a little clue of what's in store. In the sculpture garden (open to the public for free during the project) you see five projections at the same time—three characters and two ambient projections featuring landscapes including clouds and sunrises. Much of the imagery is in sync, i.e. when Ryan Donowho gets on his bike, Donald Sutherland climbs into his always waiting town car and Tilda Swinton hails a cab. A surprising treat is how other buildings and the museum itself reflect multiply the projections, immersing viewers in the cinematic experience.

Winner of the International Prize at the Venice Biennale and director of music videos for Interpol and Fatboy Slim, the artist's first large-scale public artwork in the United States challenges viewers perceptions of public space. Aitken calls the show a “silent film for the 21st century.” It will be projected every evening from 5-10 pm for 28 consecutive days, from 16 January-12 February 2007. To see more images, get more info and watch a trailer go here.

A few blocks away, Aitken created a one minute film, New Day, which will run once every hour in the middle of Times Square on the Astrovision Screen. New Day also depicts the constant flow of life that is New York. You can hear commentaries on your cell phone, by calling +01 408 794 0886

With contributions from Evan Orensten and Tim Yu.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard
Loading More...