A Day in Brooklyn: Art + Nature

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Art and nature combine in Brooklyn this fall. Take the opportunity to plan a big day before parkas time arrives.

Underground sound project

Prospect Park covers 585 acres, 250 of which are woods – Brooklyn’s last remaining forest. Through the woods stretch miles of waterways, man-made pools, waterfalls and streams leading to a 60-acre lake, Brooklyn’s one and only. In addition to hosting thousands of people for recreation and respite, the park has earned Important Bird Area designation, as more than 250 species use the area for residence or migration.

Below all of this is a living world, unseen and never heard before. So far.

Nikki Lindt “The Underground Sound Project, a sound walk” gave birth to an interactive public art installation based on a series of underground acoustic recordings.

“The basement is often perceived as a hollow or empty place, but it is actually full of acoustics; it contains a largely unexplored sonic frontier right below our feet and our world above ground is constantly affecting that sonic ecosystem,” Lindt told Forbes.com.

During a work trip to the Arctic in 2018, Lindt noticed sounds inside “thermokarst failures”, deep holes in the ground created by melting permafrost. She recorded her first underground sound there.

“The underground sounds are much louder, resonant and more dramatic than I expected,” Lindt said. “They also travel quite far. A light footstep on the forest floor, barely audible above ground, can be distinctly heard rumbling underground over 20 feet away.

From the Arctic to the Big Apple, Lindt continued to record subterranean acoustics wherever possible, including all of New York’s parks and natural areas. A year-long residency at the Urban Field Station collaborative arts program allowed him to create “The Underground Sound Project” with sounds from all seasons.

“In the fall, I put my microphone in the ground under a clump of oak trees while their acorns were falling. I was surprised to hear that in the ground, when the acorns land, they sound like explosions hitting the ground,” Lindt explained. “In the same recording, I heard the sound of the leaves landing. Above the ground, I didn’t hear the leaves hitting the ground, but underground, the falling sound of the falling leaf is loud and resonant.

Wintry sounds included ducks walking across frozen ponds and, surprisingly, snowfall.

“Snow falling on the ground has its own particular patterns and differs depending on the type of snow falling and its speed,” Lindt said. “Beneath the ground, snowdrifts melting in the sun create distinctly patterned buzzing sounds, melting icicles compose a layered rhythm in the ground that could be mistaken for man-made music.”

Along a wooded trail, beginning at a trailhead near Dog Beach, visitors encounter features such as a stream, maple tree, forest floor, wildflowers, and more. Via signs with QR codes at designated locations along the promenade, listeners can experience the corresponding underground sounds in a series of one-minute videos accessible on Underground Sound Projects interactive website. A personal device such as a smartphone and headphones are required to experience the project.

Man-made noise also permeates the earth.

“The deafening noise of the subway from its tunnels far below can be heard roaring just as loudly inside the trees and waterways,” Lidnt said. “Ferries can be heard rumbling through the waters of the East River before they even appear on the horizon. The sound of the planes overhead travels through our floors and trees as they fly overhead. above our heads.

In addition to stopping to smell the roses, visitors to Prospect Park can now stop to hear the roses, so to speak.

“I hope that by listening to these subterranean/subterranean sounds, visitors gain a deeper connection and greater empathy with trees, plants, other living things and the larger ecosystem,” Lindt said. “These interactions and new connections with nature can inspire stewardship and care actions. We are all interconnected and interdependent as diverse species, and this becomes more evident when we slow down and take the time to listen and connect.

“The Underground Sound Project, a Soundwalk” can be experienced in Prospect Park until May 2023.

“Black Atlantic”

Hugh Hayden plays the dual role of artist and curator for “Black Atlantic” throughout Brooklyn Bridge Park, located on a historic harbor leading to the Atlantic Ocean. Bringing together new sculptures adapted to the site by himself and four other emerging artists, “Black Atlantic” is inspired by the diaspora across the Atlantic that connects Africa to the Americas and Europe.

The exhibition focuses on the complex hybrid identities that have developed through the exchange of culture and ideas over centuries along transatlantic networks.

The “Black Atlantic” artwork will be on display at Brooklyn Bridge Park through November.

1-800 Happy Birthday

WORTHLESSSTUDIOS has transformed its new space in East Williamsburg into an exhibit honoring the black and brown lives killed by police. Originally a voice mail project, 1-800 Happy Birthday now fills a 10,000 square foot warehouse honoring the lives of those lost too soon.

1-800 Happy Birthday was originally created in 2020 by filmmaker and artist Mohammad Gorjestani as part of an ongoing voicemail project. The project exists online at 1800HappyBirthday.com and allows loved ones and the public to leave and listen to voicemails left on the birthdays of ‘celebrants’ – those who have been wrongfully killed.

Gorjestani has teamed up with WORTHLESSSTUDIOS Founder and Artistic Director Neil Hamamoto and Curator Klaudia Ofwona Draber, along with family members of the Twelve Celebrants, to bring the digital project into the physical realm via an accessible large-scale exhibition to the community.

Visuals and ephemera included in the exhibit, such as Philando Castile’s favorite book and Xzavier Hill’s graduation cap, allow visitors to gain insight into the personal milestones, interests and personalities of those honored. These objects, chosen by members of the celebrant’s family, illustrate the divide between private conversation and public space.

Twelve recycled NYC phone booths are laid out on patches of lawn, a concrete wall with an area dedicated to flowers hosts a large mural and balloons, and birthday cards are available for purchase from a newsstand. Towards the rear of this cityscape is a translucent building facade with an opening that leads to an interior setting – a family living room. This room acts as a resource center, filled with photos and teaching resources, as well as a space of refuge.

Each revamped phone booth, designed by Paige Hanserd in collaboration with the artist, curator and celebrants’ families, is dedicated to an individual, with portraits of the celebrant as well as their family and friends.

In a large-scale fresco, each celebrant is represented in his image. The painting serves as a collective memory for the many people killed by the police and is designed to receive flowers, birthday cards, balloons and any other memorial offerings. The interactive and educational nature of the exhibit aims to connect attendees to each celebrant and expand on the pervasive impact of policing and systemic racism in America.

The families of Dujuan Armstrong, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, stephon clark, Fred Cox, Eric Garnier, OscarGrant, Xzavier Hill, Donovon Lynch, Sean Monterrosa, Tony Robinson and Mario Wood participate in the exhibition.

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