*Duration of the work is approximately 1 minute 30 seconds, and it is recommended that viewers experience the full animation with sound.
When viewing the work please adhere to all social distancing guidelines as instructed by the CDC.
THE LIBERTY BELL PROJECT
Liberty Bell is a new public art project by Nancy Baker Cahill in augmented reality, presented simultaneously in six cities in the United States: Boston, MA, Charleston, SC, Philadelphia, PA, Rockaway, NY, Selma, AL, and Washington, DC. Liberty Bell will be on view from July 4, 2020.
Commissioned by Art Production Fund, in partnership with 7G Foundation and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, a project of the Fund for the City of New York, Liberty Bell is an animated, monumental and richly sonorous augmented reality (AR) drawing in 360 degrees. The public artwork will be geolocated at a series of sites and experienced on smartphones and tablets through Baker Cahill’s free 4th Wall app. This project, roughly 15 months in the making, lives at the vibrant intersection of public art, social consciousness and tech.
In this polarized and tumultuous election year many concerns persist around the founding principles of American freedom and democracy. Inequality, structural racism, injustice, and the ability to vote are chief among them. Inspired by the original cracked Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the drawing hovers beyond viewers, swaying with the rich and layered sound of bells tolling. The Liberty Bell soundscape morphs from the rhythmic lulling of a tolling bell, into a harmonious and dissonant sequence of ringing as it becomes increasingly unpredictable and arrhythmic. Ranging from analog to synthetic, the sounds were compiled from a diverse array of historical moments and locations. The richly textured brushstrokes and bell sounds resemble loosely knitted threads that unravel and come together in an uncomfortable, but cohesive moment. They reflect the evolution and transformation of liberty over time into the complex reality we face today. Baker Cahill chose July 4, known as Independence Day, as a launch date to advocate for justice, civil rights and freedom in the U.S.
AR is impermanent, ephemeral, invisible to the naked eye and leaves no environmental trace. It is accessible to a broad audience through the ubiquitous use of smartphones and tablets. Community programming will be organized online and in-person when possible. Programming will include topical conversations by cultural leaders and community members from all 6 cities as they relate to current events. Providing a platform for conversation and access to the artwork is a crucial component of this project.
"From its origins in American history, “liberty” was only available to a certain demographic and came at great expense to others. You can’t have a conversation about freedom and not talk about the history of slavery and inequality in the United States. A bell can be a warning or a celebration; something spiritual or a wordless means of communication. In an age of pandemic, surveillance, injustice and disinformation, who is actually free? That’s the conversation we need to have." - Nancy Baker Cahill, Artist
“We are thrilled to present Liberty Bell in six different US cities this summer. While adhering to social distancing guidelines, it feels crucial to bring this important artwork safely to the public. Through a visual and sonic AR experience, Baker Cahill gives viewers the opportunity to reflect upon their personal experiences of liberty, freedom, injustice and inequality. We are honored to present this poignant work during such a remarkable time.” - Casey Fremont, Executive Director, Art Production Fund.
Liberty Bell weaves a common thread between all six cities underscoring our interconnectedness and shared cultural inheritance. These historically significant and charged locations comprise an unprecedented activation spanning the Eastern seaboard of the United States.
App Developer and creative tech team: Drive Studios
Sound collaboration with Anna Luisa Petrisko
LOCAL PARTNERS: Boston, MA: Boston Children’s Museum, Boston Cyberarts, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston Harbor Now; Charleston, SC: Center for Heir’s Property Preservation; Philadelphia, PA: Association for Public Art (aPA); Rockaway, NY: 7G Foundation, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, The Rockaway Hotel, National Parks Service, NYC Parks, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Rockaway Artists Alliance; Selma, AL: Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church; Selma & Dallas County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Information, Washington, DC: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
SPECIAL THANKS: BFA, Lisle and Sally Baker, Louise Baker Lee, Sharon Bowers, Phoebe Cole, Jesse Damiani, Justin Diener, Casey Fremont, Leah Fuentes, Saski Globig, Amy Lloyd McCarthy, Kathleen Lynch, Sam Maliszewski, Guy Martin, Gabi Mendoza, Christian Merfeld, Columbus Mitchell, Tyrese Mitchell, Anika Morris, Dakota Peterson, Rebecca Smerling, Jennie L. Stephens, Pastor Leodis Strong, Aaron Sullivan, Brett M. Wadford, Joshua F. Walden, Jeff Wright