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Broadway-Lafayette Street/Bleecker Street

Leo Villareal

Hive (Bleecker Street), 2012

LED tubes, custom software, electrical hardware, aluminum, stainless steel

Hive (Bleecker Street) is a light installation for the Bleecker Street Station by Leo Villareal. The LED sculpture takes the form of a honeycomb, dramatically filling an architectural space in the shape of an ellipse above the stairs that marks the new transfer point connecting the IRT and IND subway lines. The enormous ceiling, hovering overhead, becomes a type of illuminated diagram as vivid colors, outlining each hexagonal honeycomb shape, move across the sculpture. Villareal created an unprecedented art experience for transit riders who use the station, in its use of technology and LEDs.

Hive (Bleecker Street) has a playful aspect in its reference to games. Riders will be able to identify individual elements within a larger context and track this movement. The work explores the compulsion to recognize patterns and the brain’s hard coded desire to understand and make meaning. The patterns also take inspiration from the research of the mathematician John Conway who invented the Game of Life, the best-known cellular automata program. Hive (Bleecker Street) speaks to a diverse audience - it is abstract and evocative and can have many different meanings. It creates an experience for riders through changing patterns presented in randomized progression. Overall, the piece resonates with the activity of the station, transportation network and the city itself. The work was fabricated by Parallel Development.

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