Video by Gabi Mendoza courtesy of Art Production Fund,

Battery Harris East, Fort Tilden, Queens.

Video by Neil Rasmus/BFA.com courtesy of Art Production Fund,

Battery Harris East, Fort Tilden, Queens.

NANCY BAKER CAHILL:

LIBERTY BELL

On View Through

July 4, 2021

The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, in partnership with the Art Production Fund, 7|G Foundation, Rockaway Artists Alliance and Rockaway Hotel present Nancy Baker Cahill’s Liberty Bell, a free public art project utilizing augmented reality, presented simultaneously in six cities in the United States: Boston, MA, Charleston, SC, Philadelphia, PA, Rockaway, NY, Selma, AL, and Washington, DC. Liberty Bell will be on view from July 4, 2020. Click to read the press release and NY Times coverage of Liberty Bell.

 

Commissioned by Art Production Fund, Liberty Bell is an animated, monumental and richly sonorous augmented reality (AR) drawing in 360 degrees. The public artwork is geolocated at a series of sites and experienced on smartphones and tablets through Baker Cahill’s free 4th Wall app. This project, which is two years in the making, lives at the vibrant intersection of public art, social consciousness and tech.

In this polarized and tumultuous election year many concerns persist around the founding principles of American freedom and democracy. Inequality, structural racism, injustice, and the ability to vote are chief among them. Inspired by the original cracked Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the drawing hovers beyond viewers, swaying with the rich and layered sound of bells tolling. The Liberty Bell soundscape morphs from the rhythmic lulling of a tolling bell, into a harmonious and dissonant sequence of ringing as it becomes increasingly unpredictable and arrhythmic. Ranging from analog to synthetic, the sounds were compiled from a diverse array of historical moments and locations. The richly textured brushstrokes and bell sounds resemble loosely knitted threads that unravel and come together in an uncomfortable, but cohesive moment. They reflect the evolution and transformation of liberty over time into the complex reality we face today. Baker Cahill chose July 4, known as Independence Day, as a launch date to advocate for justice, civil rights and freedom in the U.S..

AR is impermanent, ephemeral, invisible to the naked eye and leaves no environmental trace. It is accessible to a broad audience through the ubiquitous use of smartphones and tablets. Community programming will be organized online and in-person when possible. Programming will include topical conversations by cultural leaders and community members from all 6 cities as they relate to current events. Providing a platform for conversation and access to the artwork is a crucial component of this project.

EXPERIENCING THE ARTWORK

To experience the artwork, first download the FREE 4th Wall app from the App Store or Google Play, using Wifi. The app works on iPhones 6s and above (iOS11 and up), any iPad with AR capability, and Androids with AR Core. Free wifi and tablets will be available for public use at select locations. Once downloaded, be sure to "Allow Access" to photos, microphone, camera and location. Be sure device sound is on. The 4th Wall app does not collect any user data.

The app will allow you to save a picture or video of the artwork. Share on social media and use the hashtag #LibertyBellAR.

**Duration of the work is approximately 1 minute 30 seconds, and it is recommended that viewers experience the full animation with sound.**

When viewing the work please adhere to all social distancing guidelines as instructed by the CDC.

On view at Rockaway Beach and The Rockaway Hotel at Beach 108th Street, Rockaway Beach, Queens, Rockaway Ferry Landing at Beach 108th Street, Battery Harris East at Fort Tilden, Gateway National Recreation Area, and Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn.

Click images to view map of locations:

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Rockaway Hotel at Beach 108th Street

Enter the Rockaway Beach boardwalk at Beach 108th Street and Shore Front Parkway, and walk or bike slightly left or right and toward the dunes and water. Drawing will appear over the ocean/dunes and is viewable from Beach 108th Street to Beach 106th Street.  This site is wheelchair accessible.

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Rockaway Ferry Landing at Beach 108th Street

Enter at Beach Channel Drive at Beach 108th Street, Rockaway Beach, and stand to the left of the Rockaway Ferry landing at the water's edge. Drawing will appear over Jamaica Bay. This site is wheelchair accessible.

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Battery Harris East at Fort Tilden, GNRA

Enter Fort Tilden, Gateway National Recreation Area, and walk or ride your bike toward the Rockaway Artists Alliance studio 7 Gallery (Murray Road and Hero Road, Breezy Point). Walk west down Murray Road toward Battery Harris East, an abandoned military installation, and directly face the battery; drawing will appear overhead. Parking is not available at the park. Note: this is a remote location, roughly a ten minute walk from the gallery with some paved and gravel paths.

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Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn

Enter the Fountain Avenue, Brooklyn, entrance of the park either by walking, bike or car (limited parking). Enter the park and follow signs toward Fountain Pier , facing the open Jamaica Bay. The drawing will appear over Jamaica Bay. The artwork is also viewable from the Skybowl at the park.  Note: this is a remote location, roughly a ten-fifteen minute walk along a paved path from the parking area. Accessible parking is available.

Many thanks to Gateway National Recreation Area, National Park Service, NYC Parks and NY State Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation for their support of this project.

ROCKAWAY! FREE PUBLIC ARTS FESTIVAL

The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy first sponsored the Rockaway! free public arts festival from June 29 to September 1, 2014 to celebrate the reopening of historic Fort Tilden and recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway peninsula. The festival was a huge success attracting more than 12,000 people during its two-month run.

Organized by MoMA PS1 and the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Rockaway! featured solo projects by Patti Smith (2014), Janet Cardiff (2014), Adrián Villar Rojas (2014), Katharina Grosse (2016-2017) and Yayoi Kusama (2018) at Fort Tilden and an international group show with the Honolulu Biennial at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club in 2014. Patti Smith's installation of five granite blocks engraved with Walt Whitman quotes will remain on permanent display at Fort Tilden.

Rockaway! was made possible through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Secunda Family Foundation with additional support provided by the Moore Charitable Foundation, National Grid and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Special thanks to Volkswagen of America for their past and current support.

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Photos by John J. Grillo

© 2023 by Rockaway Artists Alliance

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