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It’s a jungle out there: interactive installation brings the Amazon to Times Square

Urban explorers just need a smartphone app and headphones to experience the sounds of the rainforest on Broadway

by Gabriella Angeleti  |  14 April 2016
It’s a jungle out there: interactive installation brings the Amazon to Times Square
JUNGLE-IZED: A Conversation with Nature
For the month of April, or Earth Month for the eco-minded, visitors to New York’s urban jungle will be able to use a smartphone app to superimpose the sounds of the Amazon rainforest on an eight-square block plaza in Times Square. “We spent two months recording in the Amazon”, Stephan Crasneanscki, one of the artists behind the project JUNGLE-IZED, told The Art Newspaper. “After an expedition like that, it’s almost strange being back in a place where nature has been completely removed, and everything has been covered with cement.”

First, intrepid explorers need to download the JUNGLE-IZED app onto their phones. They can then pick-up noise-cancelling headphones by Audio-Technica at a kiosk on Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets. The self-guided audio tour begins there, and listeners will experience a series of natural sounds that change during the journey: the rustling of underbrush, waterfalls, singing birds and other animal calls. They will also hear ritualistic songs from the Peruvian Shipibo tribe and narrations on our connection to nature by the writer and anthropologist Jeremy Narby and the writer Daniel Pinchbeck, who have penned books dealing with the Amazon and contemporary shamanism.

The soundtrack has been composed by Soundwalk Collective and recorded by Francisco Lopez, who has created environmental recordings for more than 30 years, and the international artist group Soundwalk Collective (made up of Crasneanscki, Simone Merli and Kamran Sadeghi).

As part of Time Square’s on-going Midnight Moment digital art programme, each night at 11:57pm, the electronic billboards in the plaza will run a video directed by Crasneanscki, which is “when the magic really happens”, the artist says. The video, filmed along the 73rd Meridian line that connects Times Square with the Amazon, depicts animals, tribesmen and flora, is shown as a negative image on the billboards and in normal colours on the app.

  • The video, filmed along the 73rd Meridian line that connects Times Square with the Amazon, depicts animals, tribesmen and flora, is shown as a negative image on the billboards and in normal colours on the app
  • The video, filmed along the 73rd Meridian line that connects Times Square with the Amazon, depicts animals, tribesmen and flora, is shown as a negative image on the billboards and in normal colours on the app
  • The video, filmed along the 73rd Meridian line that connects Times Square with the Amazon, depicts animals, tribesmen and flora, is shown as a negative image on the billboards and in normal colours on the app
  • The video, filmed along the 73rd Meridian line that connects Times Square with the Amazon, depicts animals, tribesmen and flora, is shown as a negative image on the billboards and in normal colours on the app
The project aims to build a conversation around climate change and the environmental impact of industrialisation as well as people’s everyday actions, says Sherry Dobbin, the director of Times Square Arts, which organises public installations and performances on the neighbourhood’s plazas.

The participatory installation is presented in partnership with the British environmentalist David De Rothschild, Times Square Arts and the organisations Voice for Nature, The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC), The Lost Explorer, Audio-Technica, and CXA+ART.

• JUNGLE-IZED, Times Square Arts, Broadway Plaza between 43rd and 44th Streets, until 30 April

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