Release Date: Aug 17, 2011
An Experiment in Urban Furniture and Dialogue Arrives from Spain
Times Square, New York (August 17, 2011)– The Times Square Alliance with the Consulate General of Spain New York today announced a month-long public art installation of a new generation of urban furnishing, termed the Meeting Bowls. At 5 feet tall and 7 feet in diameter and open to the sky and flashing billboards of Times Square, the giant bowls can host up to eight strangers or friends. The collaborative of Spanish artists, mmmm…, created the Meeting Bowls to capture urban territory for use as social places for gathering and getting to know people.
On a first-come, first-serve basis, all members of the public can enjoy the intimate spaces from 8 AM to Midnight today through September 16, located at 46th St. and Broadway. This is the world premiere of Meeting Bowls and the first installation by mmmm… in the United States.
“Times Square stands as a testing ground for emerging ideas, and the Meeting Bowls offer a unique approach to foster private, intimate conversations in this enormous and often anonymous public setting,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. “The Meeting Bowls are a new type of temporary and playful urban furniture creating a small oasis and an opportunity for dialogue in the midst of a bustling urban space.”
The Meeting Bowls gently rock as people step in and out. The artists created the gentle motion to be relaxing and fun much like a swing, but one for adults. Once inside the bowls, signs ask people to record and to share their dialogue via smartphones or laptops. QR codes and hashtags facilitate connecting to others from the past or in the future through the mmmm… website, facebook and twitter. The links to www.mmmm.tv, facebook.com/mmmm.tv, and twitter.com/mmmmtv with #MeetingBowls
“Contemporary to the recent Spanish 15-M Movement, and similar in aspiration, we hope the Meeting Bowls will encourage dialogue and interaction in the most important main square in the world, Times Square,” said Eva Salmeron of mmmm… “The small group discussions will promote a sense of community and humanize the modern city.” (The 15-M movement in Spain involved social networks triggering discussion about contemporary Spanish politics.)
Rather than build and ship the Meetings Bowls from Spain, mmmm… utilized global computer-aided manufacturing. Digital files of the 250 parts were emailed to Advanced Cutting Services in Roselle, New Jersey. Teaming with R&N, the sheets of waterproof high-density chipboard or MDF were cut with computer driven routers. On Tuesday, August 16, the four artists will assemble the meeting bowls with only screw guns and rubber hammers live in Times Square.
Meeting Bowls is part of the Times Square Alliance’s ongoing efforts to bring the best of contemporary art and design to Times Square.
mmmm… is a collaboration by two architects, a naval architect and journalist Emilio Alarcón, Alberto Alarcón, Ciro Márquez and Eva Salmerón, who have been creating projects for public space since 1998 from Madrid, Spain. They have built in brick a life-size car that occupied a parking space between two vehicles parked in the street. Or they have spread 100 couples kissing simultaneously through out the crowds of the city center. Noise levels on the streets unexpectedly plummeted during that moment of mass intimacy. Also they have scattered about the streets, members of an orchestra that simultaneously played the same music. Pedestrians experienced the music differently depending on which street they walked past, the speed at which they walked, and by which direction they were headed. For more info, visit www.mmmm.tv
“Meetings Bowls” is supported by the University of Alcalá, Consulate General of Spain New York and Spain Culture New York. The Government of Spain - through the Cultural Department of the Consulate General of Spain in New York City, and the network of organizations supporting Spain's culture and language - promotes culture and art, and strives to strengthen bilateral cultural, artistic and academic exchanges. CNC cutting was provided by Advanced Cutting Services and R&G Construction Cabinet & Millwork of New Jersey.
About Times Square Alliance
The Times Square Alliance, founded in 1992, works to improve and promote Times Square - cultivating the creativity, energy and edge that have made the area an icon of entertainment, culture and urban life for over a century. In addition to providing core neighborhood services with its Public Safety Officers and Sanitation Associates, the Alliance promotes local businesses; encourages economic development and public improvements; co-coordinates numerous major events in Times Square (including the annual New Year's Eve and Broadway on Broadway celebrations); manages the Times Square Visitor Center; and advocates on behalf of its constituents with respect to a host of public policy, planning and quality-of-life issues. www.TimesSquareNYC.org
Times Square Arts presents temporary cutting-edge art and performances in multiple forms and media to the 360,000 to 500,000 daily visitors to New York City’s Times Square, making it one of the highest profile public arts programs in the United States. Since its inception, Times Square Arts has featured works by a diverse group of more than four dozen prominent and emerging artists. It is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Fund, which works to spur and support cultural innovation in New York City’s creative sector; and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. For past projects, visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org/arts.
Kristen Bothwell | (212) 843-9227 | KBothwell@Rubenstein.com
Alex Marchyshyn | (212) 843-9317 | AMarchyshyn@Rubenstein.com