The Urban Field Glass Project

Submitted by Rebecca Hackemann

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Client: none

Location: New York, USA

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $5,000

Project Team

Artist

Rebecca Hackemann

Public Art Agent

Pratchi Patankar

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Public Art Agent

Eleanor Whitney

New York Foundation for the Arts

Other

Meredith McNeal

Rush Foundation, Rush Kids

Interior Designer

Johnathan Stemler

Northpenn Mahchine Works

Overview

Two Urban Field Glasses that emulate sightseeing binoculars and contain images were be installed in unlikely places that have traditionally been underserved by public art – in Mnahattan’s Chinatown and in Brooklyn, NY. Inside the sightseeing binoculars will be unexpected stereoscopic images created by members of the community, which show future versions of that particular location and also historical past images of the same location.

Goals

This project, as an artist intervention into an unused interstital urban space, offered a surprise to the passerby when looked through. The Urban Field Glasses did not show the exact real world around the viewer, but revealed an altered future version of the cityscape in front of it, that was part real, part fictional and in 3-D using a 19th century method. It also showed what the space looked like before the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and FDR drive.

Process

This project, as an artist intervention into an unused interstital urban space, offered a surprise to the passerby when looked through. The Urban Field Glasses did not show the exact real world around the viewer, but revealed an altered future version of the cityscape in front of it, that was part real, part fictional and in 3-D using a 19th century method. It also showed what the space looked like before the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and FDR drive.

As such it was not created to fit into an existing design brief, nor was there a client. It was created in two locations with sponsorship from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and in partnership with NYCDOT, the Rush Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts. IN some ways it can be seen to form a critique of certain 1960s urban design practices.

Additional Information

Many members of the community took part in this project, but as many art projects, lacking a big name sponsor or publicist, it was not written about very much, except in very local blogs.