• 09.07.11

David Byrne To Build Giant Inflatable Globe At The High Line

First the Talking Heads. Now, an art installation at New York’s sexiest park. World domination? Check.

David Byrne To Build Giant Inflatable Globe At The High Line

More news from the High Line, Manhattan’s devastatingly cool elevated rail park: Starting September 16, visitors can enjoy a new public art project–a giant inflatable globe narrated by the sound of David Byrne’s voice (itself devastatingly cool).


Tight Spot will measure a whopping 48 feet by 20 feet, and it’ll be squeezed into a vacant lot under the park at 25th Street. This being Byrne–the creative genius who gave the world “Once in a Lifetime” and a bike rack on Wall Street shaped like a dollar sign–the sculpture’s both sweetly earnest and strange. Per the press release:

The globe, based on the type used in primary schools, is enlarged and wedged within the confines of the space, becoming deliberately distorted in the process. Byrne imagined the pastel map we associate with childhood: a wholly unrealistic world, a world of somewhat arbitrary political units, not a planet of clouds, deep blue oceans, beige deserts and swaths of green jungle.

Deep within the globe, speakers will radiate a “low-frequency vibration” audible to passersby on the streets and even up in the leafy refuge of the High Line. The source: Byrne himself. “I knew what I thought that sound should be, and rather than using instruments, synthesizers or samplers to make the sounds that I imagined, I simply made them with my voice,” Byrne says. “It was the easiest and fastest way of creating what I was hearing in my head. I filtered and processed my voice so that it wasn’t recognizable.”

The sculpture inaugurates a space recently snapped up by the Pace Gallery, one of New York’s blue-chip modern and contemporary art merchants. It’ll stay up until October 1. At which point we’ll have to go back to the boring old planet earth not ruled by David Byrne. Sigh.

[Image courtesy of the Pace Gallery]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.