During the Artist is Present—a 2010 performance piece at MoMA—Marina Abramovic sat motionless as strangers cycled through the chair across from her. They were invited to gaze silently into her eyes for as long as they wished. Participants were transfixed, and some were moved to tears. The installation showed how powerful a glance could be and how it could create a seeming bond between two strangers. For the lighting company Foscarini, photographer Gianluca Vassalo staged a similar—but very different—project: uniting two strangers under a lamp.
In Twice Light, Vassalo placed a giant version of the classic Twiggy lamp by Marc Sadler for Forscarini into various locations around New York City and welcomed strangers to stand silently under it for a full minute. The idea was to try and unite two people who know nothing about one another and create intimacy within a city known for avoiding eye contact at all costs. Yes it’s a marketing stunt, but a lovely one that brings a bit of humanity into the urban thrum.
The resulting interactions, often shot from afar and in black and white, are currently on view at Foscarini’s Soho showroom in Manhattan through December 8, 2015.