The statues in New York are talking, but what are they saying?

NEW YORK TALKING STATUES

Talking Statues is an original Danish project that started in Copenhagen, giving voices to the statues through modern technology for the first time in the world. It became a huge success and later was realised in the cities of Helsinki, London, San Diego, Berlin, Chicago and other places. On the 14th of November the project will start in New York.

My background is one of the reasons why I want bring the project Talking Statues to New York; My Grandmother Bertha Fox came to New York, USA, in 1922 from Ukraine. Her autobiography is part of the book from “My future is in America”, New York University Press, 2006. She lived her life in Bronx where she got 2 children. Now they are part of New York City with their own stories

The historical statues will tell us the story about New York.  One of the main statues talking will be Columbus, who will be talking in both Manhattan, Queens and Bronx. New York City's history began with the first European visitor Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524. The statue of Giovanni at the Battery will tell about his arrival to New York Bay, where he will reflect on the voyage and on his life as one of the statues in New York.  Later the Dutch, Peter Stuyvesant, took over. Stuyvesant served as the last Dutch Director General of the colony of New Netherland. He will tell his story and what life was like until 1664, when four English ships bearing 450 men came to New York. The statue of Richard Nicholls will tell about how England took over the Dutch colony on 30th of August 1664, and how they chose later to rename it to New York. 

In the coming New York Public Art Project statues will start talking in all 5 boroughs telling their stories to bypassers through their smartphones. The 30 selected statues will represent the differences of cultures through New York all telling their stories of how they have become a part of the City. The statues have been carefully selected by The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Division of Art & Antiquities with us, ranging from Miguel de Cervantes, Golda Meir, Gandhi, Hans Christian Andersen to Balto in Central Park. 

It is important for us to make a project that becomes a natural part of the city's DNA – meaning that the Talking Statues will always relate to New York in what they say. In the project we want to emphasize the uniqueness of different cultures, that shaped New York City. Therefore each statue will represent not only New York but also a Nationality based in the City. There are 800 different languages spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. 

New York Talking Statues Team


David Peter Fox -  Originator & Producer

David M. Fox - NYC Consultant

Stuart Lynch - Monologue Consultant

Karen Kapoor - Production Assistent

Mia Johanna Selin - Design

Jakob Højgård - Programming




The project produced by
Nonprofit Association of December 1st. 


Association of December 1st (Frivillig forening)

Islands Brygge 3

2300 Copenhagen S
Denmark


Talking Statues New York

838 West End Ave., 8-C
New York, NY 10025










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In the middle of Copenhagen in Denmark you find King´s Garden, where the statue of Hans Christian Andersen is placed. He was the frist talking statue in the world and started talking in public in September 2013

About Talking Statues in New York


The statues will talk not only about New York, but they will also help to provide an experience of the different cultures that New York is a composition of. This will be accomplished not only through what they say, but also through the language they speak. Statues, besides English and Spanish, will speak Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Italian, German, etc. This means the statue of Athena in Athens Park in Queens will speak both American and Greek, Mahatma Ghandi in Union Square will speak Indian and American, Beethoven will speak German and American, Confucius in Chinatown will speak American and Chinese etc. 

Many of the statues we have chosen are artists. New York’s small Spanish colony first proposed to raise money to donate to the city a statue of Miguel de Cervantes at the end of nineteenth century, at the time of the Spanish–American War, but the monument was never built. In 1986, Enrique Tierno Galván, Mayor of Madrid, the capital of Spain, ordered three replicas to be made of the 1835 sculpture of Cervantes created by Antonio Solá, the director of the Spanish Academy at Rome, often considered to be Spain’s last great neoclassical sculptor. The original statue of Cervantes is located now at the Palacio de las Cortes in Madrid. 

We have chosen the statues for the project from 3 different angles – first of all, there will be historical statues telling us the story of New York City, how the city started and how the statues became a part of it. Secondly, we have chosen the statues erected by immigrants in memory of their culture. And then the project will have statues of famous artists, who have become an important part of New York City. 

How it works

By swiping the  QR code placed on a sign at the statue, the system will be activated and the statue will start to talk. Read more here  

Theme: Diversity and immigration

Talking Statues is an original Danish project that started in Copenhagen by David Peter Fox, giving voices to statues through modern technology for the first time in the world.