Ship ShapesJune 1st, 2013
At the hip of the new Whitney Museum site and the foot of the High Line is Pier 57, a waterfront landmark built in 1952 and perched on floating, concrete caissons. Youngwoo & Associates, the developers behind the Chelsea Arts Tower and Chelsea’s Sky Garage Condominium, will restore and develop Pier 57 into a destination for “culture, commerce, & community” in the form of shipping containers – “Incuboxes” – that retailers may rent for $3000/month. A sample of things to come, perhaps, was artist Garson Yu’s multimedia public art installation, The Interactive New York (T.I.N.Y.).
Garson Yu is the founder and creative director of yU+co is an international design and production studio with a mega-reel that includes Life of Pi, Watchmen, and 300, along with scores of commercials, logos, and title designs. So it’s no wonder that T.I.N.Y. functions and integrates so well in this industrial space.
T.I.N.Y. consists of videos projected onto shipping containers that line the Pier’s interior walls. Each container corresponds with a video loop and a microphone, humorously clad in a colander. Visitors can whisper, speak, or shout into the microphone to skip the video forward or reel it back, depending on their pitch. It causes freakish, but funny special effects. An informal survey revealed that women evenly split between high-pitched “eeps” and low-pitched whispers; men looked on from a short distance until coaxed by friends.
The video projections look stunning in their lucidity and responsiveness, thanks to advanced programming and some seriously powerful hardware/and software. But that does not preclude some cultured amateurism: Yu’s college-aged son shot most of the videos – a close-up of a woman’s face, seagulls lilting in the sky, waves crashing on the beach, sidewalk surfers, a car rolling by. And speaking of kids: a temporary tunnel with a sound-driven, interactive puzzle traverses the installation, offering more of an all-ages diversion.