The Conductor (Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi)

Rashaad Newsome

Times Square Advertising Coalition

Rashaad Newsome brought his exploration of hip-hop’s unspoken gestural language, The Conductor (Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi), to Times Square’s electronic billboards from 11:57 pm to midnight each night in September, 2015. This project was a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts.

The Conductor (Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi) consisted of footage capturing the hand gestures of top hip-hop MCs from over one hundred music videos. The footage was digitally enhanced and re‐edited to track the motion of the artists’ hands. The audio was a composite of consistent sounds in recordings by artists deemed “Hip-Hop greats” in a 2005 survey conducted by local New York radio stations Hot 97 and 105.1. These sounds were then weaved in and out of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”

For two special nights - September 22 and 28, 2015 – there was a filmed gathering with the artist and recording artists he considered the next generation of Hip-Hop.

"In some ways this piece is a remix of “Carmina Burana”, widely considered to be the most epic choral piece to date. The remix is informed by whom New Yorkers consider the most epic MCs to date. So it must be shown in the most epic NYC site to date.”  - Rashaad Newsome

Photographs courtesy of Ka-Man Tse for @TSqArts.