Thoughts on A Foggy Day in Jersey City

© David Iliff with CCLicense

© David Iliff with CCLicense

This article from nj.com stirs up an interesting issue. A work of art called Release is causing some alarm in Jersey City. Created by Roger Sayre and Charlotte Becket, professors at Pace University, this art installation, described as an “urban catastrophe image”, consists of a shipping container which belches forth water vapor every day at noon and at 8pm. This fog can take up to forty-five minutes to disperse.

The last time Release was up and running, a passer-by called 911 to report a fire, resulting in the arrival of six fire trucks, legally required to respond to what they knew was a wild goose chase. The Fire Department shut down the installation, but Release is getting a second chance after the artists have placed signage at the site to warn people that there is no fire, only art.

There is some beauty in the dancing water vapor and the conversations and awareness sparked are certainly lively. Release represents an honest attempt to explore and deal with images that frighten us. Do you think this kind of art is worthwhile or is it a needless and insensitive disruption that threatens public safety and the city budget?

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on A Foggy Day in Jersey City

    • I agree. For me, it hits at the absurdity of unreasonable fear by illustrating how jumpy people can be in the absence of any true threat. Awareness is important, and we lose it when we become paranoid. On the other hand, I doubt that the Fire Department appreciates being used to prove a point, no matter how valid it is. Playing with fire? Maybe.

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