Fish Frenzy at the World Trade Center, Boston
Posted by lisagbrown on June 5, 2008
The two-dimensional photographic image, by artists Jason Asselin and Marybeth Mungovan, is called “You Are Here.” At about 4-feet tall and 90-feet wide, it is the first thing MBTA riders see as they ascend the escalator. As each person walks the length of the art, the goldfish appear to swim and flutter because of holographic manipulation. In the center of the image there is a dot alongside the words, “You are here.”
The piece’s image and words force the viewer to reflect on his or her role as one individual, among many. It imagines commuters as fish, busy with movement and momentum. Yet it also brings to mind other animal-centric imagery: people who follow each other blindly, like sheep; people being herded like cattle. As a downtown commuter, I often feel like I am blind, following my path out of rote habit. I am accustomed to being herded by MBTA shepherds who bark at crowds with the force of a verbal cattle prod.
While the artists seem to reference these common animal phrases, I don’t think they intend to reinforce the meanings behind them. We commuters are not interchangeable like cattle or sheep. In fact, I think the artists might say that cattle and sheep are not interchangable either. Though their goldfish are jumbled together in a flurry of movement, the artists capture individuality in their subjects: scales that shimmer, a fin lifted in motion, eyes that see the subway below.
Commuters, like fish, appear to undulate and move as a single unit. However, when you get up close, we are unique and shiny, as glittery and beautiful as bright orange goldfish.
To learn more about “You Are Here” and its artists, read a description in the journal Big, Red & Shiny.