In a new video art installation at Brooklyn Bridge Park, artist Allison Janae Hamilton captures the tumultuous nature of 2020 in projected images of turbulent waters. Waters of a Lower Register mixes post-storm video from Hamilton’s hometown in Florida with atmospheric sounds of nature to create a captivating display backed by the skyline of Lower Manhattan. The work comments on not only the struggles of this past year but also the difficulties faced throughout the history of the Brooklyn waterfront, and the struggles coastal areas will face in the future.
Allison Janae Hamilton, Waters of a Lower Register Installation View in Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Max Yawney, courtesy of Creative Time, December 2020
Waters of a Lower Register is a film installation that will play across an arc of five separate screens in the park. At some points in the thirteen-minute video, the visuals will flow seamlessly from one screen to another, while at other times, every screen will be independent. The video will play on a loop and is free and open to the public to watch.
Hamilton’s video installation uses forces of nature to contextualize the challenges of Brooklyn’s history and the challenges it will face in the future. COVID-19 is not the first deadly disease to come to New York’s shores. As the beginning of a Lenape walking trail and then a dense urban and industrial site, the land surrounding Brooklyn Bridge Park has been witness to the devastation of smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, and more. Hamilton’s piece invites viewers to watch the movement of water, forest, rain, and swamps, and think about how our histories are reflected back to us through nature. Hamilton’s work ties these past emotions to the future of the Brooklyn waterfront. As an ecological red zone, this shoreline is especially threatened by rising sea levels and increasingly catastrophic weather patterns caused by climate change.
Allison Janae Hamilton, Waters of a Lower Register Installation View in Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Max Yawney, courtesy of Creative Time, December 2020.
Creative Time, the New York-based public arts non-profit presenting Hamilton’s work, has a long history of bringing art to the Brooklyn Bridge. From 1983 until 2001, the organization unveiled a new installation every summer inside the cavernous spaces of the bridge’s anchorage. Hamilton’s video will play every night from sundown until park close, 4:30pm through 1:00am, at Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The installation will run through December 20th, 2020.