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WorldStage Goes Full Circle for “blu Marble” Art Installation in Manhattan

Drawing on a long history of working with leading multimedia artists, WorldStage provided AV technical support for Chilean artist and activist Sebastian ErraZuriz and his latest ground-breaking installation, titled “blu Marble.”  The project involved a monumental outdoor sculpture featuring a video stream of the Earth as viewed live from an orbiting NASA satellite.  In addition, on opening night, “blu Marble” transformed the Manhattan skyline with a video projection of the planet high on the north face of the New Museum.

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WorldStage has had the pleasure of working with many prominent media artists through the years,” notes WorldStage Director of Design, Shelly Sabel. “Based on our reputation for successful artist relationships we were the only company approached by Chris Lunney and Katherine Brice, who were producing ‘blu Marble’ for Mazarine Group’s Carine Bauvey.

The installation “blu Marble” pays homage to the first photo of Earth taken from space in 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17.  The artist and his Sebastian ErraZuriz Studio created an installation comprised of a 20-foot diameter circular LED video screen visible day and night from its downtown Manhattan location.  They developed a bot that pulled live images of the Earth from a NASA satellite.  Then they created video sequences displayed on the LED video screen.

“‘blu Marble’ is a reminder of our miraculously fragile existence.  It places our very existence in perspective at a global level – as a tiny spec in space – beckoning us to live fully with awareness and mindfulness of our limited time on this vulnerable and beautiful planet,” ErraZuriz explains.

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Because WorldStage was involved with the quick-turnaround project before a location was chosen, the company, along with fabricator Big Show Production, designed a “location-agnostic” system “that could go anywhere,” says WorldStage Account Manager Peter Smith.

“To give the illusion of a floating Earth, the design configured the tiles in a stair-step layout and then Big Show installed a circular bezel that created the appearance of a perfect earth-like sphere. Big Show’s bezel design worked perfectly, and the artist’s vision of the floating disk was achieved,” Smith points out.

The structure was set back about six feet into the empty Ludlow Street lot where it remained on view day and night for one month.  “People would walk down the street and not see it until they were on top of it,” says Sabel.  “All of a sudden they discovered this planet of ours.”

In addition to the public art installation, “blu Marble” was the centerpiece of a party for blu executives on the 18th floor club-level of the PUBLIC Hotel overlooking the contemporary art New Museum on the Bowery.  Following a countdown, partygoers looked out the window to the 90-square-foot surface of the museum’s north face to see ErraZuriz’s stunning views of the planet projection mapped on the building.

This project, also from Mazarine Group (www.mazarine.com), required projectors to be mounted on rooftop scaffolding atop the PUBLIC Hotel.  “They were shooting 250-275 feet toward the museum wall,” says Smith.  “Their brightness and quality worked perfectly for this project, and the client was extremely happy with the results.”

For WorldStage, Heath Hurwitz and Terreyl Kirton were Project Managers, Lorenzo Lagola was Lead LED Tech, and Mark Henrickson and Briana Torres, our Programmer and Media Server Techs. “We want to do everything we can to support the unique visions of artists” says Sabel.  “This was our first time working with Mazarine Group, wand it was a privilege to take on such a challenging project with just four weeks from start to finish. Our team worked very hard and did a great job.”

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