Slipstream Times Square
Displayed on over 90 billboards every midnight in July, Nancy Baker Cahill’s Slipstream Times Square transfigures the bewildering, dizzying energy of Times Square through a vibrant, abstract artwork. The video’s shifting landscape began as analog graphite drawings on paper, which Baker Cahill tore apart and then reformed into sculptures before digitizing them into new animated forms. The resulting creation calls to mind a surreal canyon that moves like an ocean, or something even more organic. The animations glisten as they seem to breathe, expand, and contract, pulsing with an energy that almost threatens to spill out into the open space below. Occupying space normally reserved for commercial advertising, Slipstream Times Square aims to transform this iconic space by inviting conversations about what is real, what is alive, and what we see and feel when digital-analog boundaries are blurred.
“Slipstream Times Square, like other videos in this series, dwells in the murky territories of consciousness but does so here multiplied, at scale, for a collective public audience. This artwork gestures toward the organic, as a simulated fiction of botanical and biomorphic forms. Spread across millions of LED nodes, It offers a familiar referent with no natural analog.”
— Nancy Baker Cahill.
Nancy Baker Cahill’s Slipstream artworks begin their long journey as graphite drawings on paper. The drawings are then torn into pieces and reconfigured into bespoke, sculptural configurations that gesture towards organic or botanical forms. Echoing recombinant DNA, each installation represents an iterative version of the one before. Documented as 3D objects, they are altered, lit, and animated using CG software. Once composited, they exist as discrete looped videos. A final step returns them to paper—forever altered—as archival prints, in triptychs, which isolate sequential dramatic moments in their respective animations.
Midnight Moment is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on over 90 electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57 pm to midnight. This year, Times Square Arts is celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the Midnight Moment series with a roster of all women artists until April 2023.
ABOUT NANCY BAKER CAHILL
Nancy Baker Cahill is a new media artist who examines power, selfhood, and embodied consciousness through drawing and shared immersive space. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of 4th Wall, a free Augmented Reality (AR) art platform exploring resistance and inclusive creative expression.
Her geolocated AR installations have been exhibited globally and have earned her profiles in the New York Times, Frieze Magazine, and The Art Newspaper, among other publications, and she was included in ARTnews' list of 2021 'Deciders'. Her work has been internationally exhibited at museums and galleries, including Francisco Carolinum Linz, The Hermitage, The Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (SEMA), Honor Fraser Gallery, and Konig Gallerie. In February of 2022, she was one of two featured artists in the Elevation 1049 Biennial in Switzerland. Baker Cahill was an artist scholar in the Berggruen lnstitute's inaugural Transformations of the Human Fellowship, and a 2021 resident at Oxy Arts' 'Encoding Futures,' focused on virtual monuments. She is a TEDx speaker and a member of the Guild of Future Architects. In 2021, she was awarded the Williams College Bicentennial Medal of Honor and received a 2022 C.O.L.A. Master Artist Fellowship.
Midnight Moment is made possible by the Times Square Advertising Coalition, ABC SuperSign, American Eagle, Branded Cities, Clear Channel, Disney Store, Express, Levi's, LG, Luxottica Group S.p.A., Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, New Tradition, Sensory Interactive, Sephora, Sherwood Equities, Show + Tell, Silvercast, Swatch, T-Mobile, and JCDecaux.
Major support of Times Square Arts is provided by Morgan Stanley. Additional program support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for Midnight Moment is provided by Meta Open Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Times Square Advertising Coalition.
Photos by Michael Hull.