Now Showing in New York: “Voice Tunnel”

Text: Julie Schwietert Collazo
Photos: Francisco Collazo
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One of the wearying characteristics of New York to which I refuse to concede is standing in line.

A line formed outside a recent exhibit opening at a gallery in Chelsea's Meatpacking District.
A line formed outside a recent exhibit opening at a gallery in Chelsea’s Meatpacking District.

No, I will not wait in line for an hour to eat a burger and fries from The Shake Shack. I don’t care if God himself flipped the burger.

I won’t join the fawning throngs waiting for their “opportunity” to buy the horrifically primitive-sounding “cronut.” I don’t care what gustatory miracle will purportedly occur if I am so “lucky” to score a cronut.

And I won’t stand in line to see an art exhibit.

Well, usually.
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Last weekend, and for the next two Saturdays, Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s “Voice Tunnel” will be open to the public as part of the city’s Summer Streets program.

"Voice Tunnel" is a site-specific installation that is open to the public for just three Saturdays in August.
“Voice Tunnel” is a site-specific installation that is open to the public for just three Saturdays in August.

Francisco went last Saturday and said the line stretched around a full city block, despite rain. It’s expected that the next two Saturdays will see lines just as long, if not longer, given the fantastic coverage the work has received in the media, and its ephemeral nature.

Lozano-Hemmer’s light and sound piece is inside the Park Avenue Tunnel, which runs from 33rd to 40th Streets. Normally off-limits to pedestrians–it’s an active traffic tunnel–Lozano-Hemmer negotiated with city officials to close the tunnel for six hours on three consecutive Saturdays for the show. In a post-9/11 world and a self-important city where practically everything involving public space requires permission and permits, the negotiation was no small feat, and Lozano-Hemmer conceded little to city authorities who wanted to control certain aspects of the installation.

For that, and because it’s so fleeting, I just might stand in line this Saturday.

To experience the installation without standing in line, check out Francisco’s video from the first iteration of the installation.

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Julie Schwietert Collazo

Julie Schwietert Collazo and Francisco Collazo. For more information, please contact us: e-mail: collazoprojects@gmail.com

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