Robotic art projects and 3-D billboard installations are attracting New Yorkers to Times Square

Times Square is contemporarily known as the one-stop destination for tourists and the one spot New Yorkers avoid with more vigor than jury duty. Legendary Studio 54 founder and luxury hotelier Ian Schrager, however, is seducing New Yorkers back to the area with the commissioning of two public-facing art projects located on the Jumbotron billboard on the corner of 47th and Broadway in celebration of the opening of The Times Square EDITION.

The new billboard project features a glowing display of urban media art that fuses classic depictions of art and nature with modern technology. Schrager is collaborating with Sila Sveta, the New York-based multimedia design studio that has produced installations for the MET Gala, to bring back the sophisticated glitz and high romance that Times Square was once known for in the 1940s and 50s. What is now blocks of fast food chains and naked cowboys was once a destination for New Yorkers themselves, lined with nightclubs where one could spin to the sounds of Doo-Wop at the start of the evening then end it with a nightcap accompanied by Frank Sinatra.

EDITION Hotels is reinventing billboard art—and Times Square along with it
EDITION Hotels is reinventing billboard art—and Times Square along with it

“We wanted to bring something unforgettable to Times Square and create an iconic moment to mark the opening of The Times Square EDITION,” said Schrager on the event. “The activations will be unique visual experiences that the public can take part in to celebrate this momentous occasion.”

The impressive scale and illuminated glow of the billboards challenge the typical billboard experience, which is usually aimed at selling its viewer a product or message. Sila Sveta have produced a full digital art takeover with mesmerizing videos to create an interactive, robotic installation that pays homage to the iconic Alexander McQueen Spring Summer 1999 show.

EDITION Hotels is reinventing billboard art—and Times Square along with it

“Billboards are an important medium in contemporary public art. We want to augment the architectural environment with these new site specific works for the neighborhood,” said Sila Sveta multimedia curator Paulina Zakh.

“All of our pieces are truly inspired by what we call, ‘perfect moments in time’. Some of them are weird. Some are simple, some are provocative. We challenged ourselves to redefine this historically commercial intersection and to establish a new visual dialogue with the city.”

The Alexander McQueen robotic installation opens to the public today from 1-6pm. The billboard art will be on view every hour now through March 25.

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