An inspiration for The Mosh Cyclorama, The Eye of the Beholder by JR.
I travelled to New York City to see an installation by street artist JR at the New York City Ballet’s David Koch Theater. I had previously seen images and videos posted online before arriving to see the piece in person and had understood that it wasn’t an example of photography in dynamic media. The piece was created with photographs of dancers clad in white and folded into white paper. The images were captured using HD cameras. Because of the scale of the installation, the floor of the lobby of the theater, the photographs had to be shot at a high resolution so to fill the space and not distort or pixelate.
The experience that viewers had was more than I ever envisioned or expected. Simply put, the installation was photos printed onto the floor. Yet the viewers were completely engaged and transformed the space into something dynamic--just their presence put them in to the photograph, an environment was created almost effortlessly. Viewers became participants. They were as much a part of the work as the work itself as they walked through and lay down with the life-like ballerinas, and captured photos of the piece, often including themselves in their photos.
The images were catalysts for a dynamic experience. Different viewers, different ways they interpreted the piece, and the photos they captured and shared were unique to their experience. These photos became evidence of the experience, a record of their moment in the space.
I observed something fascinating as I photographed the piece. The mural was transformed in a new way every time the viewers interacted with it. I was captivated as I looked at the images from the floor level, walking across them, and then as I made my way upstairs to view from the balcony levels. The piece was more striking with the additional layer of people woven into the space. Being immersed in the space and watching others’ response triggered an emotional reaction, and I left the space with tears in my eyes. I was moved that photography could be used in this way.
While this piece can’t be defined as dynamic media, I consider it a platform to create a dynamic experience for viewers. Viewers are able to interact differently with the photographs than if they were in a gallery on a wall. As viewers moved across the piece, they became a part of the work. I felt immersed in photography. This is just one example where the experience with photographs is altered by using the space in a new way