Artist Yorgo Alexopoulos is known for making installations that contain multitude of electronic (and electrifying) platforms. They’re not diptychs, nor triptychs, but multi-trychs: screens upon screens which challenge the dichotomy of technology and nature by tossing, from one to the other, computer-generated graphics and portraits of rich landscapes.
That balance has attracted the likes of major art galleries and business powerhouses alike, who’ve invited and commissioned Alexopoulos to take aesthetic control of the greeting areas in their brick-and-mortars. Walk into the hotel Row NYC and you'll encounter "living animations" and light sculptures that have a vortex-like allure. Or the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, where No Feeling Is Final (2011) decorates thick reception area pillars with its 477 color-electrified tiles, each driven by 10-minute loops of paintings, photographs and graphics.
But this past month, Alexopolous’ fascination with the screen-as-stage was elevated to a new level, when he was commissioned to take over the world’s most famous visitors center: New York’s Time Square. Produced by the Times Square Alliance for their Midnight Moment program, Alexopolous’ 3-minute film Transits appeared in one of the country's most notorious spaces every day this past month. The work includes 48 animations that were blasted, with a synchronized sound performance also designed by Alexopoulos, across 42 different screens in Times Square from 11:57 to midnight. The project is a graphic rumination on planets, orbits, and the way these elements alter the immediate world around us.
“The term ‘transit’ refers to the astronomical definition for when an object occults another as viewed from one’s vantage point in the universe,” said Alexopoulos, over an email conversation with The Creators Project. “During the month of June, we experience the summer solstice—I found that creating an artwork that encapsulated something to do with cosmology would be a rich theme to work with.”
But Transits does more than just explore general cosmology—it builds upon the artist’s own cosmological observations. The 48 animations comprising Transits are each framed around Alexopoulos’ own photography of celestial bodies and events, like the Transfer of Venus, in which Venus passes directly in front of the sun, often to the pleasure of telescopes and high-power cameras on earth. A true muse of an event for anyone observing, considering it takes place once every hundred years or so.
Although operating on an entirely different plane than his explorations of Earth-based phenomena, Transits still incorporates Alexopoulos’ mastery of using larger arenas of life to help us speculate the smaller significances of our own existence, regardless of who, or where, we are. “Transits is an artwork that has no cultural boundaries,” he said. “It celebrates humankind’s achievement toward better understanding the universe around us through technology and science.”
And in that celebration, there’s entertainment, study, and a refreshing break from the advert-heavy, tourist-filled hub that typically defines New York’s most popular neighborhood.
Transits' last screening will be tonight, June 30th, at 11:57pm.
Follow Johnny Magdaleno on Twitter: @johnny_mgdlno