Curated by Dawne Langford
Father Duffy Square
Noah Scalin’s body of work takes notice of everyday moments by exploring the temporary nature of life. Using mass-produced consumer goods in his photographs, installations, and sculptures, Scalin re-contextualizes things that are normally overlooked or discarded, and considers the potential long-term impact that human activity has on the world.
CTRL/Command (2019) riffs on the classic New York City icon of pedestrian traffic signals in an outlandishly oversized format. The colors blink from red to white, keeping with the traditional color coding seen on New York City’s text-based street crossing signals, which were installed in the 1930s and replaced with pictograms starting in 2000. Scalin replaces “WALK” and “DONT WALK” with new messages, “WAKE,” and, “DONT WAKE.” The work asks us to consider the commands and transactions that we passively encounter throughout the day via a constant flow of subliminally transmitted information, all while our data is collected, sometimes without our knowledge or consent. We provide and consume this information — our credit card numbers, tastes, spending habits, thoughts, ideas, locations, and ideologies — through digital and personal interactions.
“I want to contribute something to Times Square that feels both perfectly at home and at the same time, stands out as an anachronism. I want people to take a selfie with my work, to share it on social media, but I want it to embed a secret message in their images that may only be deciphered later. I want to share that sense that you might have stepped sideways into an alternate universe or might suddenly have shrunk down and found your familiar environment completely unfamiliar. In a world where facts are already in debate, it seems easier than ever to accept that we’ve slipped into another world.”
CTRL/Command is a new commission presented in partnership with SPRING/BREAK Art Show. From March 5–31, 2019, Times Square Arts and SPRING/BREAK Art Show present Times Square Immersive, featuring four outdoor sculptures that blur reality and fantasy with delight and warning on the Broadway Plazas in Times Square.
Noah Scalin (born 1972, Richmond, VA) is the first artist-in-residence at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business. He is creator of the Webby Award-winning project, Skull-a-Day, and the collaborative, science fiction universe and performance art project, League of Space Pirates. His fine art has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Mütter Museum, and Krause Gallery in New York. His work has been featured in dozens of publications including Fast Company, Hi-Fructose, Juxtapoz, Beautiful/Decay, USA Today, The Telegraph, and The New York Times. Noah co-runs Another Limited Rebellion, an art and innovation consulting firm, and is a sought-after public speaker on creativity. He is the author of six books, including most recently Creative Sprint, which he co-wrote with his sister and business partner Mica Scalin.
Dawne Langford (born 1972, Cleveland, OH) is an independent curator, documentary filmmaker, and artist based in Washington, D.C. In 2014, she founded quota, a curatorial initiative dedicated to centering traditionally marginalized viewpoints in public discourse around artistic creation. Her previous exhibition venues and collaborations include Mel Chin Studios, Corcoran School of Art and Design, Transformer, Olly Olly, Torpedo Factory, George Mason University, SPRING/BREAK, and The Smithsonian Asian Pacific Center's Culture Lab series, Crosslines.
Photo courtesy of Walter Wlodarczyk for Times Square Arts.