Have you ever stuck your head up a water tower? Wait, what? You haven't? Well, here's your chance. On display at Madison Square Park in New York right now are three water towers, each illuminated with neon lights and mirrors. Even if you're not in New York, you can take a look at these trippy photos.
Neon lights inside the water towers trace out text or an image of a ladder that are infinitely reflected by mirrors, creating a portal into the endless skies. The piece is called This Land Is Your Land, and it's the work of Brooklyn-based Chilean artist Iván Navarro. Named after the Woody Guthrie song, the installation is meant to explore symbols of the immigrant experience.
"I like the idea of a reservoir of water," says Navarro in an artist's statement, continuing:
This simple and timeless wooden structure contains water—the most primitive and elemental resource, the essence of human sustenance, and a reminder of the basic condition that all humanity shares. We must guarantee our water in order to survive. In that sense the water tanks are containers of primordial knowledge. Their form and material are equally archaic: they are simple circular huts with conical roofs, made of wood.
Less obvious but nonetheless important is their reference to watchtowers due to their elevated position. Although they are benign objects, there is the sense that they are quietly surrounding us, surveying the city below. These water towers metaphorically function as tall ornamental crowns on the tops of the large buildings that dominate the urban landscape. They punctuate the glory of modern civilization while reclaiming its humanity.
Navarro's installation brings water towers down to us, letting us stick our heads inside what are often the usually inaccessible structures. This Land Is Your Land is only display at Madison Square Park until April 13. [Madison Square Park Conservancy via My Modern Met]
Photos by James Ewing Photography, New York. Courtesy of Madison Square Park Conservancy.