By A. Campbell
Starting Tuesday, December 6th, a public sculpture by British contemporary artist Es Devlin will be on display in Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza and open to the public.
The large-scale illuminated revolving sculpture is called “Your Voices” referring to the 700 different languages spoken in the most linguistically diverse place on earth — our very own New York City. Commissioned by French champagne producer Moët & Chandon, “Your Voices” celebrates the cultural diversity and intense connection of life in the city.
In addition to viewing the piece from a distance, members of the public can interact with the sculpture up close. Between 12pm and 10pm every day, the installation will be open to visitors, welcoming them to walk into the center of the sculpture and hear firsthand the many languages emanating from its 700 cords.
Dagaare, Swahili, Tamil, Punjabi, Tagalog, Hebrew, Khmer, Serbian, and Gurung are just a small handful of the hundreds of languages spoken within New York City’s five boroughs, and displayed in a colorful interactive map created by the Endangered Language Alliance, which you can link to here. The myriad languages spoken by city-dwellers are represented by the 700 lighted cords within the sculpture, attached to structural arcs which rotate north, south, east, and west.
Es Devlin is known for creating large-scale public artworks and stage sculptures which combine the elements of light, music, and language into one immersive and dynamic experience. Devlin’s work as a stage designer for operas, concerts, runway shows, and plays was featured in an episode of Netflix’s series, “The Art of Design”.
“If people happen to be walking by, they can stop and enjoy the artwork for free,” said Jenni Klauder, Director of Communications at Lincoln Center. “We encourage them to take that moment of pause and human connection that is so important to all of us these days.”
In addition to offering an immersive experience for members of the public, the installation will also serve as a stage for a handful of choral groups. The choirs were selected after a months-long review by Devlin and Lincoln Center leadership.
“Choirs were asked to submit three selections that are celebratory in nature,” said Carmen Roman, Director of Our Chorus NYC. “The pieces must be performed in languages other than English. Some of the music will commemorate the season and may be recognizable, however holiday music (carols) will not be featured.”
Starting Tuesday, December 6th at 6pm and on select evenings following, choirs from around the city will perform for the public while standing inside the sculpture. The first live performance will feature vocalists from the Cardinal Hayes Singers, The Jalopy Chorus, and the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus.
“This project is exciting, beautiful, and unique,” Roman said. “I anticipate choirs will partake in a new experience as they become elements in the overall presentation.”
A confirmed schedule of choral performances is included below. “Your Voices” will be on view in Lincoln Center Plaza starting Tuesday, December 6th through Sunday, December 18th.
December 6: Cardinal Hayes Singers, The Jalopy Chorus, and the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus
December 9: Cardinal Hayes Singers, The Jalopy Chorus, and the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus
December 10: Schiller Institute NYC Chorus, Ukrainian Village Voices, and the Cardinal Hayes Singers
December 11: Cardinal Hayes Singers, Our Chorus NYC, and the Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir
December 16: Ukrainian Village Voices, Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir, and Our Chorus NYC
December 17: Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir, The Jalopy Chorus, and Our Chorus NYC
December 18: Ukrainian Village Voices, Our Chorus NYC, and the Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir
Correction: We misspelled the word cords originally. It is cords not chords.