I wonder how many transit systems can say they are home to two life-sized zoetropes. While Manhattan-bound riders on the B and Q have long spied the Masstransiscope just east of the Manhattan Bridge, straphangers passing through Union Square can now marvel at the world’s largest digital linear zoetrope.
As part of a temporary Arts for Transit installation, the MTA along with a professor from Parsons the New School of Design and his students unveiled “Union Square in Motion” earlier this week. Consisting of abstract and organic images, the scenes move as subway riders walk past the display. The installation is similar to a project designer Joshua Spodek and his team installed in Bryant Park last year.
“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,” Spodek said.
The display is current housed in a temporarily vacant retail space outside of the fare control area and below the Food Emporium along 14th Street east of Fourth Avenue. “These works of art will be shown in series, so subway riders will get a fresh visual treat each time they walk through the station,” Lester Burg, Program Manager for MTA Arts for Transit, explained. For more on the project, check out Spodek’s website. I’ve embedded a behind-the-scenes video of the installation process after the jump.