Shahzia Sikander’s “Gopi-Contagion”
Flocks Times Square for October’s Midnight Moment
October 1-31, 2015
Every night from 11:57 p.m.–midnight
(New York, N.Y.) October 2, 2015—Shahzia Sikander manipulates hundreds of digitally animated drawings to create the idea of swarming, or collective behavior, as an observable phenomenon in Gopi-Contagion, which will be shown on Times Square’s electronic billboards from 11:57 pm to midnight each night in October. This project is a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts.
Gopi-Contagion consists of flocking particles made up of the silhouettes of hair from the Gopi, female worshipers of the Hindu god, Krishna. Hair from the female figures is then isolated to cultivate new associations. When in motion, the silhouettes looks like insects, birds, bats, or can translate as particles. The flocking reflects behavior of cellular forms that have reached self-organized criticality, resulting in a redistribution of both visual information and experiential memory.
Artist Shahzia Sikander, said, “My process is driven by my interest in exploring and rediscovering cultural and political boundaries, and using that space to create new frameworks for dialogue and visual narrative. In my work, deconstruction is not limited to the miniature-painting format; it extends to the reimagining of historical content and entrenched symbols.”
Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, “Ms. Sikander deconstructs form before our eyes to construct a new visual landscape.”
Sherry Dobbin, Times Square Arts Director, said, “Just when we think that there is no way that these HD screens can surprise us, and artist such as Sikander reference some of the oldest art forms to make us see the landscape anew.”
Fred Rosenberg, President of the Times Square Advertising Coalition, said, “This piece demonstrates how an artist can take formal mediums such as painting and illustration and make them relevant on our new technology. Artists like Shahzia Sikander make the best use of how the electronic billboards can bring unusual context to an audience that they would never be able to encounter on their home televisions and computers.”
Harry Coghlan, Chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition, said, “Through artists like Sikander, make best use of how the electronic billboards can bring unusual context to the audience that they would never be able to encounter on their home TVs and computers as a break in their programming.”
The following digital screens are participating in the October Midnight Moment:
ABC SuperSign, American Eagle Times Square, Bank of America, Branded Cities 7 Times Square, Branded Cities NASDAQ Tower Times Square, Branded Cities Thomson Reuters, Outfront Media 1515 Broadway/ Viacom North & South, CEMUSA, City Outdoor, Clear Channel Spectacolor HD127/CNN, Clear Channel Spectacolor HD128, Disney Store Spectacular, Sherwood Equities 1 Times Square, Superior Digital Displays Three Times Square #5, Superior Digital Displays Triple Play
About Midnight Moment
Midnight Moment is the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on electronic billboards and newspaper kiosks throughout Times Square every night. The program premiered in May 2012 and is organized and supported by the Times Square Advertising Coalition in partnership with Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, with additional partners of participating sign holders and artists.
Each night, Times Square becomes a digital art gallery through dazzling visuals on select billboards and newsstands. Every show begins at 11:57 p.m. with a “countdown” that signals the start of the three minute nightly presentation. Past artists featured in the program include Rashaad Newsome; Osgemeos; Eric Dyer; Richard Garet; Andy Warhol; Peggy Ahwesh; Marco Brambilla; Rafaël Rozendaal; Sebastian Errazuriz; Charles Atlas and Antony; Noah Hutton; Ryoji Ikeda; Daniel Canogar; Alfredo Jaar; Isaac Julien; Robert Wilson; Tracey Emin; Seoungho Cho; Vicki DaSilva, Surabhi Saraf, and Elly Cho; Erika Janunger; Takeshi Murata; Bel Borba with Burt Sun and André Costantini; Zach Nader; Brian Gonzalez (aka Taxiplasm); Björk; JR; Ryan McGinley; Jack Goldstein; Nature Theater of Oklahoma; Ezra Wube; Laleh Khorramian; Brian Dailey; Leslie Thornton; and Yoko Ono. For more information on past projects, please visit: http://www.timessquarenyc.org/times-square-arts/projects/midnight-moment/index.aspx
Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) is a trade association comprised of major advertisers, retailers, real estate firms, media companies and other businesses involved in the outdoor sign industry in Times Square, along with organizations representing Broadway and the community. Members of TSAC include: ABC Regional Sports & Entertainment Sales, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Daktronics, D3 LED, Digital Domination, Hines Management, Jamestown One Times Square, Lamar Advertising Company, Landmark Sign & Electric, Metro Media Technologies, Newmark Knight Frank, North Shore Neon, P.R.omotion!, Sherwood Outdoor, SL Green, Times Square Alliance, The WOW Factor and Thomson Reuters. www.timessquareadcoalition.org.Follow TSAC on twitter at @TSACNYC.
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 to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district’s unique identity. Generous support of Times Square Arts is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit http://www.timessquarenyc.org/times-square-arts/index.aspx for more information. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @TSqArts.
SHAHZIA SIKANDER Shahzia Sikander earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She was the recipient of the inaugural Medal Of Art by the US State Department in 2012. She also received the Mac Arthur ‘Genius’ award in 2006. She currently has solo exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao and Tufts University, Boston.