Harris-Babou’s video “Liquid Gold” Screening at Midnight in Times Square in May
Assistant Professor of Art and Luther Gregg Sullivan Fellow in Art Ilana Harris-Babou’svideo project“Liquid Gold”is beingscreenedeachnightnowthrough Wednesday,May 31on theelectronic billboards of Times Squarein New York City.
Over 92 digital displays spanning 41st to 49th Streetsare showingthe synchronized filmfrom11:57pmto midnightaspart of Time Square Arts’Midnight Momentprogram, creating adream-like canvas filled with flowing cream-colored bubbles.Since 2012,the Times Square Alliance hasshowcased over 100contemporary digitalartistsona monumentalpublicscalein the iconic urban setting.
Alonger version of“Liquid Gold” was previously on display in Wesleyan’s Ezra and CecileZilkhaGallery fromJanuary through March 2023, and included a sculpture in addition to thevideo installation. “I had such a lovely time sharing‘Liquid Gold’with the Wesleyan community in theZilkhaGallery and thought I should re-edit it for the big screens,” said Harris-Babou.
Thework wasinitially commissioned for thegroup show“Milk”attheWellcomeCollection in London, on display through September 10.Harris-Baboutraveled to England to installthe full video, “Let Down Reflex.” The “Milk” exhibitionexplores our relationship with human and dairy milk and its place in politics, society,and culture.
Harris-Babou’sTimes Squareproject was curated byNew York-based interdisciplinary artist Pamela Council,who was a fellow Master of Fine Arts student at Columbia UniversitywithHarris-Babou.“I’ve always really admired their work,”Harris-Babousaid.
Times Square Artsapproached Council to guest curate this month’s Midnight Moment in 2022.“They have a great understanding of the program,” saidJean Cooney,Director of Times Square Artsand Vice Presidentof Arts and CultureforTimes Square Alliance, about Council.
Harris-Babou’s video considers the passing down of maternal knowledge, and the invisible labor that has historically surrounded the act of breastfeeding. The work exploresthe ways intimate moments both inform, and are informed by, larger societal structures. By magnifying a familiar and essential substance,Harris-Babouseeksto amplify the overlooked realities of intergenerational care.She hopes showing the video in Times Square will invitetheaudience into a conversationaround the complexity of the social economies of milk and motherhood.
Harris-Babouwill have a conversation withJennifer Nash, author of “Black Birthing Mothers” (2021),moderated by Council on Zoom onMonday,May 15 at 6pm. The talk willexplorethe themes behind“Liquid Gold”and the intersections within their research and practices, includingBlack feminist theoryandBlack maternal health.Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities presented a Zoom lecture by Nash in February.
Musicians Ashley GrierandChe Bufordwill performin conjunction with the screening of “Liquid Gold”onFriday, May 12 at 11:30pmatBroadwayand46th Streetin New York.
This summer,Harris-Babou will be working on upcoming solo projects forCandiceMade Gallery and Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York.