Using a local nuisance for good, artists turn the din of cars into a set of arches that illuminate based on the volume of the highway above them.
Public art installations are popping up throughout New York City, one of the latest being planned beneath the Gowanus Expressway at Hamilton Ave. in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The Artist Build Collaborative, based in the boro, is responding to the neighborhood’s complaints about the underpass. Not only is it one of the busiest and loudest areas in the neighborhood, but it’s also incredibly dark and dangerous to pass underneath.
Valeria Bianco, creative director of the collaborative shared their experiences:
We noticed that while we were walking, we were barely able to talk to each other and it was really, really dark. So we got this really simple idea that we wanted to create something out of the negative and turn it into positive, and we found out this is positive.
The project, Silent Lights, consists of six colored rectangular gates made from steel and aluminum. The metal is perforated, so sun can stream through during the day. At night, the LED lights pulsate in waves, translating the sounds of traffic into bursts of color. The intensity of the color also increases as the sounds heighten.
It will cost a total of $50,000 and be on display between 11 months and 2 years, depending on the discretion of the DOT. Over half of the funds have been donated and raised already, and the collaborative is continuing to raise money.