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Site-Specific Public Art Installation By Pioneering New Media Artist Jim Campbell
Jim Campbell’s Scattered Light (2010) at Madison Square Park. Credit: Courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy/Copyright James Ewing.

NEW YORK, NY.- Madison Square Park Conservancy presents Scattered Light, a new site-specific public art installation by pioneering new media artist Jim Campbell. Marking the artist’s most ambitious public art project to date, Scattered Light features three installations of orchestrated light incorporating elements of computer programming and high-technology for a public art installation which literally lights up Madison Square Park this fall and winter. Jim Campbell’s Scattered Light will remain on view through February 28, 2011, as part of the Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art program.

Featuring three new major public art commissions, Jim Campbell’s Scattered Light blankets Madison Square Park’s Oval Lawn with a 3-D matrix of nearly 2,000 LED lights featuring moving images. For the largest of the three commissions, which shares the name Scattered Light with the exhibition, nearly 2,000 LED lights, encased in standard light-bulb casings, creates a vibrant light grid suspended within a support structure spanning 20 feet high and 80 feet wide, across the center of Madison Square Park’s Oval Lawn. The LED bulbs, engineered to flicker scattered light at the command of computer programming, creates the illusion of figurative images that explore and reflect the human experience amidst the urban landscape. These figures appear to move across the park’s central Oval Lawn. As one travels around the work, the vantage point alters and the light figures begin to abstract, blurring the boundaries between image and object. Both abstract and representational, sculptural and image based, Scattered Light illuminates and activates Madison Square Park with Campbell’s light-based sculptural approach to the concept of contemporary image-making as pixilation in a manner that is at once elegantly simple and quintessentially contemporary.

Accompanying Scattered Light, is Broken Window, situated near the main entrance to Madison Square Park at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. An array of LEDs encased in a glass-brick wall (70”h x 70”w x 10”d) create illuminated images that appear to glide across the glass plane, reflecting the movements of the city around them and echoing the aesthetic poetry of the Scattered Light installation.

As the third component of Campbell’s site-specific Madison Square Park installation, the artist presents a visual symphony of light timed to pulse in rhythmic patterns reflective of the eclectic sounds of urban subway systems and its travelers beneath the surface of city streets. Voices in the Subway Station features 18 glass tablets (14” x 22”) lit from below by LEDs specifically programmed to pulse at intervals and times designated to create a visual orchestra of individual voices in the context of overlapping conversations and subway happenings. Together, the coordinated pulses create a visual wave of light symbolic of the trademark sounds that mark the progression of subway trains rumbling on arrival only to pass and travel forth, carrying the sounds of commuters with them. Voices in the Subway Station are situated on the East lawn of Madison Square Park, adjacent to Madison Avenue between 24th and 25th streets.

The artist, Jim Campbell, comments, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to present my newest and largest scaled light-based installation inside Madison Square Park. Works of art created from light work better in nature, and the grand scale of this installation will be enhanced by the interaction between the thousands of visitors to the park each evening.”

Born 1965 in Chicago and educated at M.I.T., earning two degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, Jim Campbell’s inventive fusion of science and art is recognized worldwide. His work has been exhibited to great acclaim at institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is the honored recipient of various public art commissions and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship Award, Langlois Foundation Grant, and a Rockefeller Fellowship Award in Multimedia, among others. As an engineer Campbell holds more than a dozen patents in the field of video image processing. His monograph Material Light was published by Hatje Cantz in 2010. Jim Campbell lives and works in San Francisco and is represented by Hosfelt, San Francisco and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York.

Jim Campbell | Madison Square Park Conservancy | "Scattered Light" |

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