Last year at the first Nuit Blanche — the one where people only complained about the rain — you may remember seeing Thom Sokoloski’s The Encampment as Confinement of the Intellect in the bowl of Trinity-Bellwoods Park. Each tent had a separate installation inside, and they glowed from within as well. For our New York readers, and those heading there this weekend, this Toronto project is being installed on Roosevelt Island.
For three nights (October 5-7) the large-scale public participatory art installation can be found on the South point of Roosevelt Island in New York’s East River. Like an archaeological dig, The Encampment unearths the collective memory of this storied island. One hundred white nineteenth-century expeditionary tents, each containing a unique perspective on the past created by creative collaborators, will be illuminated from within. This massive glowing grid will be not only be visible to those visiting the work, but to hundreds of thousands from Manhattan’s East Side, the Queensboro Bridge, Queens, and the East River. It is an installation of exceptional scale.
This temporal public artwork will not just impact New York sightlines but will also explore its history. Between 1828 and 1955 Roosevelt Island was the site of a small pox hospital, lunatic asylum, workhouse, penitentiary and quarantine tents. The Encampment calls upon the present community to create installations in each tent that recount the lost narratives of the people once confined to the island. By incorporating public participation in the conception of the piece, The Encampment will create an unprecedented artistic testament to diversity in memory and perspective in New York City.
Let your NYC friends know they can go see some public art conceived of in Toronto. It runs until 1am each evening and is part of openhousenewyork, North America’s largest public weekend of design and architecture.