ATZ learned about the artwork, which debuted in 2011, via a tweet from a BBC journalist who wondered why Coney Island was part of the piece. We emailed Pimlott to ask how the names were chosen and his association with Coney Island.
The names were arrived at through association with many different events and aspects of historical consciousness. These were not arrived at scientifically, but associatively, in a manner resembling improvisation. There were places of origins, pleasure, religions, catastrophe, atrocity, infamy and fame; rivers, deserts and islands, all of which would strike a user of the square as significant in some way, evoking memories or ideas or connections. In all, walking across the square and reading names would result in a wealth of interrelated thoughts about the world we make and inhabit.
‘Coney Island’ is featured in a little cluster of other islands: some remote, others famous. The ‘island’ bit is what bound them together, even just the word ‘island.’ For me, Coney Island appeared because of its evocation of ‘everyman’ relaxation, Luna Park, photographs of the great hordes on the beach made by Weegee, the hot dog eating competition, a particular conception of summer. I visited only once, many years ago, a rather melancholic affair, not uncommon to all seaside ‘resorts.’
Related posts on ATZ…
December 13, 2014: Art of the Day: David Levine’s Watercolors of Coney Island
October 4, 2013: Art of the Day: John Dunivant’s Bizarre Midway
September 17, 2011: Photography: Floating Above the Coney Island Boardwalk