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Don't Look Now, But Flatiron Is Upside Down

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The flatiron building, in black and white, upside down. That's what visitors to Madison Square Park can see as they enter a new art installation.

The camera obscura is a 10-foot by 10-foot cylindrical viewing room made of wood and concrete that flips image through a small hole. It's the brainchild of New York-based artists Luis Recoder and Sandra Gibson.

Recoder said in preparation for the couple's first public art commission, they turned their own bedroom into a camera obscura, making holes in different windows for a whole month.

"We spied on everyone, so in a way it was like a surveillance machine," he said.

Recoder explained the piece allows people to experience their sight in a different way. "It helps us to kind of rethink and revisit what it is to look," he said. "And that is the title Topsy-Turvy, it means to re-orientate the whole sensor apparatus."

Gibson added that their idea is also to challenge today's tech-savy audiences, with something very low tech. "People will come in and be may be surprised, like why isn't this technicolor, where is the HD, you know, I expected to see more here," she said. "It is a challenge because we are used to getting immediate responses."

Topsy-Turvy: A Camera Obscura Installation is on view daily from 10 am to 5 pm at the southern end of the park, on 5th Avenue and 23rd street, until April 5.

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