School of Art, Media, and Technology

Parsons and MTA Arts for Transit Installation – Union Square in Motion

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Union Square in Motion
An interactive public art installation in Union Square subway station

September 23, 2011: Parsons the New School for Design and the MTA Arts for Transit present “Union Square in Motion,” an interactive public art installation in the Union Square subway station. The installation opens Monday, September 26 in the windows of a vacant concession space in the “unpaid” area of a station entrance, assuring it will be seen by thousands of New Yorkers and visitors.

A media preview at 7pm will be held on September 26 and students and professors from Parsons will be available for comment on this unique, technologically advanced installation. Parsons will host a reception following the preview, featuring a making-of screening, from 7:30-10pm at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 66 Fifth Avenue, between 12th and 13th Streets.

“Union Square in Motion” exhibits the world’s largest digital linear zoetrope and features several technological firsts, developed for this installation. The format allows the movement of passersby to activate the visual subject matter, similar to Bill Brand’s refurbished “Masstransiscope”, in a subway tunnel north of DeKalb Avenue station, first installed by Arts for Transit in 1980, and “Bryant Park in Motion”, the world’s first digital linear zoetrope, installed in 2010. The artists designed “Union Square in Motion” for daily commuters, visitors, art lovers, and the general public – with this entertaining and engaging public art. Among the imagery are flowers blooming, dolphins jumping, and geometric abstractions.

Taking advantage of the medium’s unique property – viewers activate the art by their movement to create an animation effect, “Union Square in Motion” emerged from a Collaboration Studio in Parsons’ Art, Media, and Technology program, bringing the technology into the digital age. Produced by the Studio’s Professors, Joshua Spodek and Anezka Sebek, the artists are Jeanne Kelly, Hilal Koyuncu, Rose Maison, Umut Ozover, Josefina Santos, and Jaqi Vigil.

“When you see two strangers stop to look then start talking to each other, amazed at the art they’re seeing in the subway, you realize what art can do to create community and draw people together,” said Joshua Spodek. Jeanne Kelly added, “New Yorkers are so busy. As an artist I enjoy being a part of giving them a reason to slow down and see and think about their worlds in a different way, even for just a second.” Rose Maison added, “Sometimes a whole family will stop. Each member sees something different but they all share the experience. I hope people will make the trip to Union Square to enjoy it.”

MTA Arts for Transit provides permanent art in MTA subway and rail stations, operates Music Under New York, and a Lightbox photography program, to enhance the transit environment. More info at

Location: “Union Square in Motion” is located underground, at the southeast corner of the Union Square station, below the Food Emporium escalator on 14th Street just east of Fourth Avenue. Please see the map, below. Visitors to the artwork are reminded to be mindful of subway riders and not to block access or circulation.

Joshua Spodek

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