Photo Laura Brichta

By Marcina Zaccaria

In Astor Place, it’s still possible to draw a crowd.  

Entering through a small hatch and stepping into the sand container, the thirty-five minute performance began.  Three performers stood and crouched, gazing out and up.  Gusts of sand blow them off of their feet.  Toes in the air and fingertips outstretched, they see the yellow light at the top of a rectangular container. 

A low droning, whirring sound surrounds three figures on display next to the large sculpture of a cube at Astor Place.  While some try to spin the cube or rush through the designated performance area with a French Bull Dog, others sit and watch in awe.  It’s like going to an art gallery, but more immediate, with the traffic rushing by on both sides past 8th Street near Broadway and Fourth Avenue.  Taking pictures, walking between the cubes, standing on squares below, the audience questions whether a call to action is necessary or essential. 

Photo Chloe Bellemere

We hear the rumble of the 6 train below, but as the performers grasp towards the audience seeking a response, I feel like the simple one, holding strong to the virtues of clean air, safer systems, and the ability to rise or fall, in the event of a momentary crisis.  With indoor theaters closed, outdoor performance has gained in popularity, as the weather shifts from Summer to Autumn.  Seeing the wafting sand lift up, past the container space, it’s easy to reminisce about the August breeze.  Yet, I am moved by what looks like gas masks that the performers are wearing; what might be whimsical seems darker.  The human body contains more than light or heat or air.

To conquer one’s frailty can become an ongoing debate, yet, to see so many people, dressed in black, chasing the images of light sand whirring around, I consider if one has to escape horror before enjoying the Halloween festivities.  There’s a longer discussion to be had, but who would you have it with?  And where? 

Conversations will continue.

Photo Chloe Bellemere

Correspondences, presented by HERE and LEIMAY, will be on view from October 1–4 at the Astor Place Plaza, located at the corner of 8th Street and Lafayette Street in Manhattan. Over the four-day period, 14 activations will take place including October 1 at 8pm; October 2 at noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm; October 3 at noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm; and October 4 at noon, 2pm, and 4pm. Correspondences follows strict social distancing and safety guidelines.

Correspondences – The Audience Files ((September 21, 2020 | www.correspondence

Correspondences Talks (October 29th, 2020)

Correspondences On-Demand (October 1st to November 30 at