Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Binocular Menagerie at Midnight Moment

Guy! Times Square’s Midnight Moment is 2 Years old! And they’re celebrating with a fantastic menagerie! MARVELOUS! Every night in May from 11:57-midnight, Leslie Thornton‘s Binocular Menagerie will take over the advertising screens. Its finally spring- grab an iced coffee and a date and go enjoy art and be a tourist in your own city.


Animals of all kinds will fill Times Square’s spectacular screens in May, turning the square into an urban jungle every night with Leslie Thornton’s film Binocular MenagerieThornton’s Midnight Moment film will premiere just before midnight on Thursday, May 1st, and play every night throughout May from 11:57 p.m.–midnight. Midnight Moment, celebrating its two year anniversary with this program, is a monthly presentation of The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts. Thornton’s film is presented in partnership with the Winkleman Gallery.

The seminal and enigmatic media artist Leslie Thornton straddles the media and art worlds and is known for addressing a range of charged subjects. Her work ventures into the highly imaginative and quasi-fantastic, and is often arranged in serial or episode format, incorporating distinctly “post-modern” combinations of archival and original footage, moving and still images.

Binocular Menagerie features a wide array of animals of various species—birds, reptiles, mammals, some exotic, others familiar and commonplace. Thornton uses a simple play of direct and abstracted imagery to bring out dimensions of animal behavior that generally go by unheeded. Two circular fields appear side by side, creating a binocular effect. On the left are images of the various animals, beautifully captured doing what they do in the wild and in captivity. On the right, the very same image is folded back on itself in a centripetal pattern, reminiscent of a kaleidoscope. The two circular fields are intimately connected: the movements of the animals on the left are remapped into the elegant mathematical abstraction on the right.

The effect is unexpected and profound: the viewer notices minute tremors and shifts (a small heart beating, for example) in the left sphere, by catching the very same resonant motion, multiplied, recast, and disembodied in the pattern on the right. The effect is of a glimpse into another being, a view prior to language and outside of our expectations. Thornton’s beautiful, meditative camerawork locates the movements of predator/prey relations in the most subtle fragments and configurations of behavior and morphology. All of her work has this intensity, an almost painfully precise focus on the fundamental minutiae of being in the world.

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