New Yorkers walking through the Union Square subway station can see a temporary art exhibit that moves as the viewer moves. NY1's Transit reporter Tina Redwine filed the following report.
Curiosity is the most common reaction from straphangers walking by the artwork "Union Square in Motion."
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Arts for Transit program is running the exhibit in unused retail space underneath Union Square at the 14th street and Fourth Avenue subway entrance, until the space is leased out.
Six students from Parsons The New School of Design created the work under the direction of Professor Joshua Spodek and it was installed it in September.
It is a zoetrope, similar to a flip book — a series of still images, each slightly different from the others.
When a viewer stands in front of the work, he or she only sees a still photo. To those who walk by, however, the images appear to move.
"It's a really old medium, but we've updated it and made it current. I mean, this is the latest in digital linear zoetrope," said Spodek. "There's so much programming. There's all the different networking things going on all the time so it can change and animate all the time."
Behind the scene, there is one laptop running all nine television screens that display more than 30 different images, from dancers to falling leaves.
"Whoever created it is a visionary," said one onlooker. "I couldn't stop looking at it. I've been standing here for like 10 minutes, staring at it, and going back and forth."
Jeanne Kelly, one of the artists, said the work's interactive nature makes it the perfect piece for one of the city's busiest subway stations.
"Making New Yorkers stop is a difficult task, but we can do that, and if they don't stop they still get it," said Kelly.
The MTA approved the project, but the team was not paid. In fact, they had to raise $5,000 to make the 18-feet-long installation.
"We're here to put something of ourselves out there for the world to see. When the world really likes it, that feels really great," said Spodek.
It's truly something money can't buy.