Art + Culture

Topsy-Turvy: A Camera Obscura Installation

DUMBO Arts Festival may be over, but there’s still plenty of great public art in the neighborhood! To wit: Sandra Gibson’s and Luis Recoder’s Topsy-Turvy: A Camera Obscura Installation in the Empire Fulton Ferry section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. On an extended view till November 10th, this interactive art piece that invites the viewer inside to experience the familiar in an unfamiliar way.

Here’s a statement from the artists:

Topsy-Turvy is our homage to one of the earliest moving image technologies in the pre-history of cinema. Since we could not reconstruct Plato’s Cave (at least not yet!) out of pure stone, fire, and infinite shadow play, we opted instead for the less demanding but also most philosophical of amusements, namely, Da Vinci’s optical toy – the Camera Obscura. The novelty of our contribution to this pre-cinematic tradition of, shall we say, ‘seeing in the dark,’ is in the fabrication of a specially designed circular screening room that delivers an inverted panoramic abstraction of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the surrounding scenery around DUMBO.”

What is so great about the art piece is that no two viewings will ever be the same. The experience is entirely dependent on time of day, weather, and daily movement in the park and harbor.

Scenes from the harbor are filtered in through the side of the cylinder

Depending on the size of the aperture, images appear more or less in focus.

Depending on weather images appear more lively or more monochromatic

Scenes from the harbor

Through the pinhole!

Images are reflected and inverted from floor to ceiling

View through a smaller aperture

View through a smaller aperture

View of Topsy-Turvy from the outside

Hours: Friday – Sunday, 11am-3pm. 

Open until November 10.

Learn more about Brooklyn Bridge Park Public Art here.