On October 1, three minutes before midnight, Times Square will host the New York City premiere of Voir la mer (“To see the sea”).
A short, five-part video installation by celebrated French conceptual artist Sophie Calle, Voir la mer follows Calle as she leads five Turkish residents to see the sea for the first time.
“I took them to the shore of the Black Sea,” the artist explains of her project. “They came to the water’s edge, separately, eyes lowered, closed, or masked. I was behind them. I asked them to look out to the sea and then to turn back towards me to show me these eyes that had just seen it for the first time.”
According to Vice, Calle had traveled to Istanbul in 2010 to execute a commission for the European Capital of Culture. There, she found a newspaper article about a group of central-Turkish residents who, despite living some 15 miles away from Istanbul (a city surrounded by water), had never seen the sea before.
Thus Calle embarked on her next project, Voir la mer, which allows audiences to watch the sincere reactions of five people experiencing the sea for the very first time. Each experience constitutes a single video portrait, which will be “magnified on Times Square’s electronic billboards,” the press release explains.
The Festival will run from Sunday, October 1 through Tuesday, October 31 on Times Square billboards from 42nd to 49th streets between 7th avenue and Broadway.