HALOS for NYC

Battery Park City, New York, New York
June 2009 – March 2011

HALOS for NYC June 2009 - March 2011

HALOS for NYC June 2009 - March 2011

HALOS for NYC used beams of sunlight reflecting off three, computer-controlled heliostats (large mirrors) mounted atop the Verdesian residential tower in Battery Park City, to reveal a play of words on the pavement below. Inspired in part by “The Sundown Poem” of Walt Whitman, HALOS tracked the daily movement of light and shadow across lower Manhattan to slowly unscramble six, three-word phrases—WATCH & SEE, SELF & SUN, LEAP & SHOUT, TABLE & BOOK, KISS & TELL, OVER & OUT. 

The painted words come from a variety of sources. “Table & Book,” for example, is inscribed on a 19th century Shaker “gift drawing.” However, it might also suggest the nearby Poets House, or New York Public Library branch, or, perhaps, the contents of an ordinary city apartment. HALOS was located on Murray Street at the intersection of River Terrace. It opened in June 2009 and continued for approximately twenty-one months.

Plan (left), Murray Street at River Terrace (right)

Plan (left), Murray Street at River Terrace (right)

Heliostats atop residential tower

Heliostats atop residential tower

Illuminated text (detail)

Illuminated text (detail)

Illuminated text (street detail)

Illuminated text (street detail)