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MTA Arts & Design

The Blowing Bowler
Chris Sickels (Red Nose Studio)
Fulton Center & Dey Street Concourse
December 17, 2015 through Summer 2016

“The Blowing Bowler” (2015) is a stop-motion animation depicting a brief history of New York City’s subway car designs as a man pursues his wind-tossed bowler hat in a subway station. As the man follows his hat down a tunnel, a progression of subway cars rolls by, representing designs from the Beach Pneumatic Transit Company (1870s), Interborough Rapid Transit Company (1910s), a second generation R-10 car (1940s), a R-15 car (1950s), a car from the 1970s State of the Art Car Program (SOAC), and a more recent R-188 subway car (2013).

Chris Sickels/Red Nose Studio was inspired by the New York subway system and the continuous movement of MTA riders. He created a dioramic model from wood, clay, fabric, wire, cardboard and found objects, then painstakingly filmed each motion as a frame for the animation. In addition to the main minute-long animation, three shorter loops feature comical cat-and-mouse antics in reference to the round-the-clock operations of the New York City Transit system and a ridership that is always on the move.

“We are all chasing something, maybe the chase is more important than the catch. I encourage folks to enjoy the journey,” Sickels said.

The animations air simultaneously for two minutes at the top of each hour on a large-scale 52-channel video installation in the Fulton Center 2345ACJZ station complex and in the Dey Street pedestrian tunnel that connects to the R line, where it will be displayed until summer 2016.  “The Blowing Bowler” is shown on Fulton Center’s 52 screens, which range from 55-inch LCD monitors to monumental LED walls on the street level, measuring 31.5 feet by 18.9 feet.

The work is presented by MTA Arts & Design with technical support from the MTA Multimedia team, Westfield Properties and ANC Sports.

About Permanent Art Program Digital Art Program Lightbox Project Transit Posters Music Under New York Poetry Podcasts Index

Fulton Flow 

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Bowling Green 

New York Dreaming

The Blowing Bowler

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