Charles Bergman Visiting Professor of Studio Art
Night Watch (Mikaela with Liberty), 20’ wide LED screen on barge, Hudson River, digital C print of floating media installation, 30 x 45”/48 x 72″
In late 2018, Artist Shimon Attie staged a multimedia project that brings to light the experiences of refugee and asylum seekers in NYC, under the current Administration.
Blending film with community engagement, Attie created a floating multi-media installation. The installation, titled Night Watch, featured large scale video portraits displayed on a high-resolution LED screen, The installation travelled the city’s waterways aboard a large, slow-moving barge. The barge was towed by a tugboat as it moved into view and docked at several ports along its route up and down the coast of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The screen featured silent close-up, moving, video portraits of new New Yorkers. Given the history of NYC as the American hub for newcomers, the artwork has special resonance as it highlighted these very same waterways that serve as an integral passageway to the American dream of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. The work of art highlighted the beauty of important sites and symbols like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Freedom Tower.
The installation was on view for eight consecutive evenings, September 20-28, during UN General Assembly Week, and was viewable from key locations. Residents and tourists alike were able to experience the illuminated artwork as it travelled past, including from scheduled and publicized points of public viewing.
The 12 individuals whose portraits are featured in Night Watch are largely from the international LGBTQI communities or were unaccompanied minors detained at the border, two of the most vulnerable groups fleeing violence in their homelands.
Night Watch (Edafe with Tower), 20’ wide LED screen on barge, Hudson River, digital C print of floating media installation, 30 x 45”/48 x 72″
Night Watch (Sergey with Bridge), 20’ wide LED screen on barge, East River, digital C print of floating media installation, 30 x 45”/48 x 72″