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REBECCA HACKEMANN/Urban Field Glasses Two interactive viewing devices were installed in unlikely places that have traditionally been underserved by public art East Chinatown and Brooklyn. Two binoculars were installed on 15th Sept, 2011 and remained there until 9/2012. The project is available to other neighborhoods and cities upon request and funding.


DESCRIPTION One or more iewing devices were installed in unlikely places that have traditionally been underserved by public art (East Chinatown and Brooklyn). The viewers will each contained four  images of the past and future of that site, as well as an interactive feedback feature. The future images were created by members of the community, showing ideas for that particular location and the historical images are taken from archives.

Project website:

Location 1: Washington between Prospect and York in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Location 2: Pike Slip and South Street, Manhattan.
Please visit for more information and maps.

This project is included in The Institute for Urban Design's "By The City/For The City - and Atlas of Possibility for New York" published by Van Allen books, 2011. (more info:

ANDROID APP for project:

 CONCEPT The viewer shape normally signifies the site of a tourist attraction, a scenic point, usually with something far away to look at in detail. They often have maps to accompany them as plaques, so that the tourist can identify whatever he/she is seeing in the distance, be it a mountain range or a city skyline with landmarks. What the sightseeing binocular rarely shows is something that is close by and related to the local community and how it has and can change. These works stand on sidewalks at derelict sites, away from tourist traffic and plazas. My 'field glasses' will offer a surprise when looked through in that they will not show the exact real world around the viewer, but will reveal an altered future version of the cityscape in front of it.
OBJECTIVES AND GOALS The objective is to involve community groups in the creation of the images and therefore the public art that resides in their neighborhood, as well as to conduct research on public art audience expectations and response. The Urban Field Glass Project can be used as a tool for change and for dialogue about what has and can happen within and through space in the public realm. Funded by DOT and LMCC with special assistance from MOCA NY.

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