Late summer in New York City brings a return to days with diminishing sunlight. The orange and red tones in the sky begin to appear earlier and earlier with each passing day. Mid-August usually was a time when NYC was flooded with tourists and sunset signaled a rush for people to make dinner reservations, theatre shows or film screenings. With the city continuing to grapple with the effects of the global pandemic, sunset has become a much quieter time.
A collaborative installation titled A Setting by Sara Jimenez and Jason Schwartz at FiveMyles in Brooklyn uses the sunset to offer a visual commentary on life in 2020 NYC. The work occupies an indoor/outdoor building entry and is made up of bands of translucent fabric that create a color gradient mimicking the sky during sunset. You can walk between the fabric bands and be immersed in color inside, or see it glow at night outside from the sidewalk.
A Setting responds to how life in NYC has changed because of COVID. The day’s end marks a time of contrasts between light and dark, positive and negative. It’s a time to recognize the efforts of essential workers and often stage vigils, marches and protests. Then there’s the case counts and death totals which haven’t been good news frequently enough.
Visually, A Setting accomplishes a lot with very little materials. At night it radiates color onto an otherwise quiet residential block in Brooklyn. It brings to mind another fabric installation I was enamored with, the Qiora Spa, an early project by ARO.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter