New York

Park Avenue 'Voice Tunnel' By Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Is A Must-See (VIDEO)

For anyone who missed out on the MoMA's much-hyped "Rain Room" this summer, a new installation set inside the Park Avenue tunnel is offering New Yorkers an impressive alternative.

Opening this Saturday, "Voice Tunnel" by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer will temporarily shut down the tunnel to cars so that 75 pedestrians at a time can walk in and record messages into a intercom.

The resulting voices will be sent throughout the tunnel in waves of differing lights. The New York Times reports:

The intensity of each beam will be determined by the pitch and volume of the messenger’s voice. And the messages will shoot out quickly, one after another, creating a seemingly endless, ever-changing cascade of sound and light.

Worried the messages could offend visitors and even spark unnecessary fear, the NYPD asked Lozano-Hemmer to consider incorporating a regulation system in order to monitor what's being pulsated throughout the tunnel.

After initially refusing in the name of free speech, the artist compromised with officials citing public safety:

A bit more background to be fair: NYPD's main concern, as I found out later, was the possibility of some idiot shouting "bomb!" or "fire!" inside the tunnel and creating chaos. That's a pretty reasonable concern, obviously. So our solution was to put a button that allows a docent to immediately delete any such input and automatically replace it with a quote from García Lorca, Laurie Anderson, Kathy Acker, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes and other interesting NYC-related poets or authors.

The installation will run between 7a.m. and 1p.m. on August 3rd, 10th, and 17th.

Before You Go

Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.
Random International. Rain Room. Installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, as part of MoMA PS1's EXPO 1: New York, 2013. Photo: Charles Roussel.

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