Times Square Video Stunt Has People Climbing the Walls

Jumbo screens in Times Square are alive with crawlers. Are they ants or tourists?

Just when you thought Times Square couldn’t get any more animated, artist Daniel Canogar is sending people crawling, climbing, and leaping up 47 of its LCD screens.

For four days in July, the Spanish artist filmed ordinary New Yorkers as they crawled across a giant green screen set up in the Midtown plaza. Now he’s spliced all the footage together to create the illusion of a mass of people clawing over one another, which will play on Times Square’s giant screens every night throughout September.

The Times Square Advertising Coalition and Times Square Arts have been partnering to bring video art to the advertising-saturated public space for years as part of their “Midnight Moment” program, but Canogar’s project marks the first time the video was filmed on-site. Titled Storming Times Square, the project will create the illusion that hundreds of New Yorkers endowed with Spider Man–like climbing skills are scaling the buildings in Times Square between 11:57 p.m. and midnight September 1–30.

This isn’t Canogar’s first time unleashing his video crowds on an urban space.

In 2011 he installed a 100-foot-long undulating LED screen along Madrid’s Canal de Isabel II for Travesias – Madrid. The previous year, also in Madrid, he created a permanent piece showing crowds of pedestrians walking along the ceiling of the Puente del Invernadero bridge. And in 2009, he projected crowds crawling up the exterior of Segovia’s dramatic Alcázar castle in a piece titled Asalto.

For his latest feat, he’s given everyone from Midtown office workers and tourists to artist Noah Hutton and Spain’s Consul General Juan R. Martínez Salazar the opportunity to conquer Times Square.

Daniel Canogar Storming Times Square

Daniel Canogar’s Storming Times Square video art displayed in Times Square.
Photo: © Kathleen MacQueen

“We’ve all crawled as infants—it was really our first movement out into the world, getting away from our mothers, and it was our first adventure, our first ability to propel ourselves out into the world,” Canogar told artnet News. “So I really want people to come back to that, to remember that.”

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