Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis
Eight 39” flatscreen TVs displaying live video feeds from eight, roof mounted, closed-circuit cameras, 2014
The Long Division, a multi-channel video installation, reconsiders the New York skyline by producing a 180 degree live view of the sky above 55 5th Avenue. Eight CCTV cameras mounted on the roof look outward to trace a line between the Freedom Tower and Empire State Building. Eight monitors in the lobby receive a distinct channel of the larger interconnected sweeping view. Simultaneously looking both north and south, The Long Division reorients the viewer within Manhattan and creates a new, yet impossible, view of this well-known path.
The absurdity of the technical and physical feats needed to accomplish this installation is not lost on the artists; a viewer could simply step outside the lobby to see nearly the same skyline. However, the lens of each camera frames the sky, allowing the artists to tune into a specific view. It removes the clamor of New York City from the equation and creates a situation in which one can concentrate on a single thing, a rare moment in New York. However, this rare, focused moment comes per the mediation of a screen. The feed is live but will not be recorded, rendering each moment on screen as ephemeral and fleeting as those in the sky.
The Long Division takes its title from the standard method for dividing multi-digit numbers by hand. It also references the North-South and East-West divisions of New York. Both the mathematical exercise and the urban mapping allows for an easier, more basic understanding of a larger sum or space.