In a remarkable case of irony, the NYPD has attempted to censor an art installation about free speech. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s upcoming Park Avenue tunnel installation, Voice Tunnel is an open platform, allowing anyone to say whatever they want through an intercom that will translate the noise into waves of light and sound. The NYPD, however, wanted to include a 6-second delay, in case they needed to censor anything dangerous. They compromised: a monitor will stand by as people speak, and, in case of anything really incendiary, there is a button to delete the recording.
This is a uniquely appropriate issue for Lozano-Hemmer, whose work often concerns free speech and monitoring the public.
The artist talks with us about how he feels about the intervention, and what the censorship will look like.