For three minutes every night this month, Times Square transforms from infamous Disneyesque wonderland into a burbling, tumbling ocean. During the winter of 2013-2014, photographer Antony Nagelmann spent 39 days at sea in an 85-year old wooden sailboat. The resulting footage of his journey will take over Time Square’s famous giant TV screens for a public installation appropriately called The Odyssey. New York’s favorite tourist destination has hosted this series, Midnight Moment, since 2012, and previously featured artists including Peggy Ahwesh and Sebastian Errazuriz.
From 11:57 PM to midnight each night, audience members will simultaneously view the installation on multiple HD screens. In each of The Odyssey’s three channels, Nagelmann displays a different facet of his journey: one horizontal channel depicts the artist’s personal reality, while other horizontals represent the objective reality of his ambitious venture, and a third, vertical channel represents his fear, excitement, and romanticized ideas about the trip. It’s this channel that’s most engrossing, and taps into all of our culture's idealistic dreams about lengthy ocean journeys. Here, water laps at the camera as the artist takes us beneath the blue of the sea.
Though the journey we see is quite personal—shots of Nagelmann’s clasped hands, or his feet stretched out before him subtly announce that this is very much his odyssey we’re visiting—he also wants us to feel so embedded in the multidimensional work that we’re taken on a journey of our own. Nagelmann says that his aim "is to provide an explorative documentation of my experience, on several layers, so that the viewers may have their own experience; completely personal to them."
If you won’t be in New York this December, watch The Odyssey, as formatted for Times Square, here: