"On Broadway" shows a section of a traffic island situated directly at the iconic world landmark Times Square. It stands in the middle of Broadway and functions as a passage from one side of the road to the other. It is also one of New York’s tourist attractions, and visitors stand here on this “stage” to take their indispensable photos immortalizing themselves with the city skyline and the billboards of Times Square.
Like in Jacques Louis Mandé Daguerre’s 1839 views of the Boulevard du Temple, SpringerParker look at the medial "windows" in a scene that is 3810,21 miles or 6131,78 kilometers away. They themselves have never been to the scene, and thus perceive it only by means of its two-dimensional representations.
The raw material the artists use comes from a live camera (2) that is freely accessible on the internet. It sends live images from Broadway 24/7 from a "bird of prey" perspective. Software developed by the artists accesses this signal and then combines the incoming images in a special way. Over time only static and barely moving objects are manifest in the composition of the picture.
As Dr. Thomas Niemeyer writes, only one single human gesture remains on the otherwise bustling Boulevard du Temple: “[...] This ‘exposure time’ literally suppresses everything that happens before and after and turns the photo into a section of time which is divorced from the continuity of chronological time. What appears on a photo as a moment because it can be perceived with one gaze has nothing to do with the normal experience of a linear progression of events as we usually see them. Normally every moment has a past and leads straight into a future, and is therefore a condition of transition. This contradiction between classical chronological time and exposure time was openly visible in photography right from its beginnings. [...]” (3)
The artists make use of this inherent contradiction of photography. They extend the temporal section of "exposure" and deliberately subject a "place of transformation" to observation. Over the 15 years that Springer|Parker have been working together, time and transience have been recurring interests, and in this work they become the instruments of their artistic formulation. They have produced 12 photos describing this place from the inside, from their personal perception.
SpringerParker transform the image sequences of this place in a poetic way. From a large number of single images, stories emerge and crystallize: what looks like a kiss, a prayer, a picture for eternity, and again and again the silence of the city in permanent motion. As in painting, in which time is absolute and only the artist decides about the form of his representation based on his perception, in the "On Broadway" series it is not reality that provides the pictures.
To make the world stand still you don’t need any complicated apparatus, this phenomenon remains reserved for perception alone.
(1) “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” Robert Wise, 1951