Created by artist Gabrielle Mertz and commissioned by Artists Alliance, the project utilizes a choreographed series of light and sound projections located throughout the Clemente building to construct a performative experience of the architecture. The installation references structural and design elements of the Dutch Neo-Gothic landmark, as well as the building’s history within the Lower East Side neighborhood, original function as a school, and later use by artists and community members. The event also celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Law, which helped to catalyze the architectural preservation movement in the United States.
Drawing on her background as a professional choreographer, the artist constructs a site-specific, immersive experience that places the architecture of the building at center stage and in the role of performer. Audiences will be able to explore the building’s performance at will using a map provided by the artist. PS160 refers to the building’s former life as Public School 160, the name conferred by the New York City Board of Education’s Committee on Buildings upon construction in 1897.