Art by Le3, curated by LeMay + Escobar
One Times Square, a site that once contained the first midtown headquarters of The New York Times (and a Pabst Hotel prior), is predominantly known these days for the building’s billboards that obscure nearly the entire structure. In fact, it is the emptiest but most profitable building in Midtown. But today, One Times Square’s new full height billboards, just installed and operated by the advertising firm New Tradition, will actually offer Times Square pedestrians a reprieve from the flashy advertisements the area has become known for.
Instead of seeing a blinking ad say for new jeans or the latest cell phone, eyes can rest upon the soothing, slow motion of two 200-foot-long humpback whales as they ‘dance across’ the digital signage. The tranquil aquatic scene marks the launch of One Times Square’s new four-screen LED display which extends nearly the full length of the 25-story building.
Directed by French artists Julien Nonnon and Romain Vollet of the famed Le3 Creative Studio, the ‘Whales Ballet’ will run from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today. A surprise display will follow the whale activation and continue through midnight. “With this video art installation, we want to celebrate the beauty of our big blue seas, because their future is our future,” said Nonnon, “The activation is a nod to the whales’ return to the New York City coastline and meant to create a peaceful moment in contrast to the frenetic pace of the City.”