Artist Mel Chin will take over Times Square with AR nautical ruins

Artist Mel Chin is bringing two new installations to Times Square’s Broadway plazas this summer. Wake and Unmoored are part of Mel Chin: All Over the Place, a multi-location exhibition produced by the Queens Museum and the public art nonprofit No Longer Empty.

Other locations involved with the citywide exhibition are the Queens Museum and the Broadway–Lafayette/Bleeker Street subway station, which is hosting a May 13 rededication for Signals, Chin’s permanent installation at the station.

Mel Chin, Signal, Stainless steel and glass sculpture with lights on mezzanine column bases; ceramic tile on station walls. (Rob Wilson)

Wake is a 24-foot-tall installation crafted by Mel Chin to resemble a shipwreck intertwined with the skeleton of a marine mammal. Adjacent to the shipwreck will be a 21-foot-tall sculpture based off of a figurehead of 19th-century opera singer, Jenny Lind. This project is being fabricated by the UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio.

A celebrity during her career, Lind was also a figurehead for the USS Nightingale, a mercantile clipper involved in the trade of guns and slaves. Chin views Lind’s inclusion in the piece as means to pull back the complicated, and often controversial, factors that led to New York City’s rise.

According to Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance that partnered with the producers on the project, Wake serves as bridge to Unmoored. In collaboration with Microsoft, Unmoored is a mixed reality experience revealing a speculative vision of a world where global warming goes unchecked. Unmooredsaugmented reality section will extend from 45th to 47th Street, and will be viewable through cell phones and tablets. Times Square Arts commissioned these installations, which will be on view at the Broadway plazas between the cross streets above at Broadway/7th Avenue beginning July 11.

In a statement to the The New York Times, Chin describes Wake coming alive through digital interaction, such as the sculpture of Jenny Lind “who will sigh and raise her head to the heavens,” as Times Square floods around her.

Production behind virtual reality component of Wake. (Mel Chin/UNC Asheville)

All Over the Place began at the Queens Museum on April 8. The museum’s portion of the exhibition is the first survey of the artist’s work by a New York City institution. In total, the survey contains over seventy works spanning Chin’s four-decade artistic career, including paintings, sculptures and videos. Additionally, two newly commissioned projects, Flint Fit and Soundtrack (the latter debuting May 13), are found at the Queens location.

Sea to See (Version 2.0), 2014/2018. Wood, glass, steel, projection coating, pain, projectors, speakers, and CPUs, 34 x 36 feet (installation), 12 feet (hemisphere diameter. (Mel Chin/ Brandon Scott)

Curators Laura Raicovich, the Queens Museum’s former president and executive director, and Manon Slome, No Longer Empty’s co-founder and chief curator, describe All Over the Place as a city-wide celebration of Chin’s work and his ability to deliver “provocative and profound investigations of the ways in which we live, our socio-economic contexts, our relationship to our surrounding environments, how power skews the scales, and how poetry can intervene, to a broad public.”

Wake and Unmoored will stand in Times Square until September 5, 2018. More information about the exhibition can be found here.