New York City is a hotbed for sound art this summer, a medium that usually can't compete with visual art. Stroll down the High Line, and you'll catch Uri Aran's installation Untitled (Good & Bad), where a clipped British voice reads off the names of "bad" animals. In August, MoMA will be hosting their first exhibit on sound art, "Soundings: A Contemporary Score." For the next three Saturdays, you can walk through the off-limits Park Avenue Tunnel, and say whatever you want into a microphone.
Or at least that's what Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer intended for his upcoming installation Voice Tunnel. The NYPD, however, has asked that the messages echoed across the tunnel be censored.
"This is the place for people to express their views," Lozano-Hemmer told The Guardian. "That's what this project is about. And if you want to censor it—I've never in my life censored a work, and I won't do it." The artist has compromised with the Police Department. The piece will have a delay so that comments that would alarm the crowd (such as yelling "fire") can be deleted.
Voice Tunnel not only brings up questions of censorship in art, but also in space. It opens up a forbidden area, bringing to light a hidden pocket of the city. The Park Avenue tunnel will be open to the public from 7am to 1pm on August 3, 10, and 17 as part of the Summer Streets project.