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Here’s another reason to ‘Love’ the DUMBO Arts Festival this weekend • Brooklyn Paper

Here’s another reason to ‘Love’ the DUMBO Arts Festival this weekend

NYU-Poly professors Luke DuBois and Carl Skelton will project your love notes across the massive wall of Empire Stores.
Courtesy of Carl Skelton

Want to send a big message to that special someone? Two NYU-Poly professors will broadcast your tender words onto a wall in DUMBO for all to see.

Carl Skelton and Luke DuBois have created the ultimate grand gesture for the DUMBO Arts Festival this weekend with their installation, “Sweet Stream Love’s River.”

Just send them a text message and they’ll project it across the historic Empire Stores building at Main and Water streets — a 160-by-70-foot opportunity for “Please say yes,” “I do” or “I like it when you touch me like that.”

“We’d like it to be about all those tender moments and entreaties and regrets that are part of the river of love,” said Carl Skelton, a digital media professor at NYU-Poly. “That’s what we think the city really is when you come right down to it.”

Video artist Deborah Johnson will moderate the public art project in real time, relaying people’s messages via e-mail to the state-of-the-art projector stationed across the street.

Beginning at dusk, visitors can transmit their warm declarations to (646) 389-1766 and within a minute, see them glow in good old-fashioned Times New Roman — with each word appearing to drop into a rippling pool of water.

The messages have a 1,000-character limit and will loop the entire weekend, so if your sweetheart misses a message, you can wait for it to resurface.

“Of course, you might be giving someone the eye and another person’s message comes up,” Skelton said. “It will cause confusion, but that’s all part of ‘Sweet Stream Love’s River’ after all.”

DuBois, who developed the software for the project, is no stranger to love-inspired tech. One of his recent projects, “A More Perfect Union,” took 19 million online dating profiles and charted the frequency of words used in cities across the United States.

The hopeless romantic scholar was excited to construct this semi-anonymous love letter that’s also a reaction to how the Internet disconnects people.

“It’s cool to be able to leave an anonymous note for someone that shows up on the street corner instead of online,” DuBois said. “You’re saying, ‘I’m going to take a girl I have a crush on to a big wall and ask her on a date. It’s a little ballsy.”

“Sweet Stream Love’s River” at the DUMBO Arts Festival [Empire Stores building at Main and Water streets, (718) 488-8588], Sept. 23–25, sundown until midnight. For info, visit dumboartsfestival.com.

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