Monday, July 28, 2008

Behind the Waterfalls with Olafur Eliasson

In this NYTimes video Olafur Eliasson talks about his New York City Waterfalls project that was installed on the East River on June 26.

The NYC Public Art Fund raised $15.5 million for the project. My reaction when I walked across the Manhattan Bridge with co-workers the day it opened was "how could this have cost $15.5 million dollars??" One of my coworkers asked me what I thought and I said that I was expecting more. When he asked "what" I paused, and just as I was about to say "some fluorescent lights or something" I realized it was silly and that I had missed "the point". I think the hype was most of the purpose of this project: getting NYers excited about the installation. Encouraging people to see all four waterfalls by foot, bike, boat, etc, inciting conversation among New Yorkers.
The video explains where some of that cash went & Eliasson offers up a brief didactic statement for the installation which can be summarized below (if you don't feel like watching).

Eliasson installed the waterfalls to represent four historical components of NYC's complex identity: the industrial area behind China Town, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the domestic area of Brooklyn Heights, and the tourist sites at Battery Park.

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