24/7: Text Messages

| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:10

    “On Sixth Street a polar bear asked him for the time.” That’s just one of the dozens of phrases that local artist Nayda Collazo-Llorens handpicked to stream across storefront windows for Voiceover, an art project premiering at the Medianoche gallery, on Park Avenue at 102nd Street in Spanish Harlem, this weekend.

    The site-specific public installation explores the transience of memory and displacement of cultures and ideas through the fleeting images of text. Collazo-Llorens incorporated a diverse array of (occasionally bilingual) phrases and sentences for the project—from menu items and song lyrics to oral histories from Puerto Rico and her own handiwork—in an attempt to stir the memories of by-passers.

    “You really get the ephemeral quality of the language, and it’s a powerful way of delivering it through these projections and multilayered quality in the two languages,” says gallery director Judith Escalona. “It captures our experience, how we live today and how we see text.” The text will be projected across Medianoche’s storefront windows and will be visible at night from various locations, including passing Metro-North trains.The project will also pay tribute on Nov. 15 to prolific Puerto Rican author Edgardo Vega Yunqué, who passed away during the summer.

    And while Collazo-Llorens expects that many people may walk by without even acknowledging her work, she’s excited to see the public’s reaction.

    “I’ll stay around to see how people react [to the show]. I’m sure a lot of people won’t look at it, they’ll just consider it another advertisement,” Collazo says. “But, I’m sure that some people will look. And, if there’s a slight smile or something that triggers something else in their minds, that will be [the best part] for me.”