Immigrant Stories in Times Square Phone Booths

One of the three phone booths that make up the “Once Upon a Place” art installation in Times Square. (Photo via News India Times)

In a story for News India Times, Sujeet Rajan describes three interactive art installations in the city, two of which tell stories to the person willing to pick up a phone or press a button.

Since late June, visitors to Times Square have had the opportunity to step into one of three refurbished phone booths and listen to some 70 different immigrant stories told by New Yorkers. The installation, entitled “Once Upon a Place,” is the work of Afghan-American artist Aman Mojadidi and runs through Sept. 5. Rajan writes:

It’s a déjà vu moment: audio recordings speak languages you understand, and some, you don’t. Yet, the powerful feeling of being privy to life that opens up unabashedly, like a mimosa plant unfurling its leaves when touched, is a powerful experience.

The statue of Gandhi in Union Square on the anniversary of his birthday on Oct. 2 (Screen shot via video of a ceremony celebrating his birthday)

Then on July 12, there’s the “Talking Statues” art project where dozens of statues will tell their stories – or at least an actor’s voiceover will – with the press of a button. Included in the installation is the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Union Square.

It’s the same statue of Gandhi which every year gets garlanded and visited by officials of the Indian Consulate in New York; bhajans are sung, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi, on October 2. Gandhi will not only ‘talk’ in English, but in Hindi too.

There’s also the “Om” exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art “for those who like total privacy.” For more on that and to read Rajan’s full piece, go to News India Times.

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