Daniel Crooks
The Sub­tle Knife: Mid­night Moment, Times Square – Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al with Times Square Arts

1st – 31st January 2021
Times Square Arts

In The Sub­tle Knife, Daniel Crooks takes us on a con­tem­pla­tive jour­ney through time and space. Mov­ing slow­ly down a nev­er-end­ing train track, the scenery dis­ap­pears into a series of con­stant­ly reced­ing frames, form­ing a sur­re­al land­scape of alter­nate realms and infi­nite­ly expand­ing possibilities.

As the cam­era pans back­wards on a course that smooth­ly shifts between aban­doned inte­ri­ors and emp­ty rail­way lines, an infi­nite chain of mir­rored por­tals shrink along the tracks in the rear-view. These spec­tral shapes punc­tur­ing the shift­ing hori­zon evoke the con­cept of the sub­tle knife’ – the blade from author Philip Pullman’s His Dark Mate­ri­als series that can tease apart the fab­ric of space and time, cut­ting new paths into alter­nate uni­vers­es. The work also harkens back to the phan­tom ride films of the 1890s and ear­ly 1900s, in which a cam­era strapped to the front of a vehi­cle films the tracks and scenery ahead while the vehi­cle itself was left unseen. Crooks cap­tured the per­fect­ly con­stant track­ing shots by using a cus­tom-devel­oped motion con­trol sys­tem, painstak­ing­ly stitched togeth­er in post-pro­duc­tion to become a seam­less jour­ney through a com­pos­ite world.

The Sub­tle Knife ush­ers in the new year by dis­tort­ing space and time while under­lin­ing a sense of pas­sage and tran­si­tion. Entranc­ing, slow, and seem­ing­ly bound­less, January’s Mid­night Moment draws us into par­al­lel worlds, chal­leng­ing our per­cep­tions or real­i­ty amidst Times Square — a space of tran­sit and con­stant motion, whether in the plazas or on the sub­way tracks below.

The Sub­tle Knife is pre­sent­ed in part­ner­ship with Asia Soci­ety on the occa­sion of their inau­gur­al Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al, a fes­ti­val of art, ideas, and inno­va­tion from Octo­ber 27, 2020 through June 272021.

Images

Daniel Crooks

The Sub­tle Knife (excerpt), 2016 – 2021
​Mid­night Moment, Times Square
Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al: We Do Not Dream Alone’
1 – 31 Jan­u­ary 2021
Pho­to: Tatyana Tenen­baum, cour­tesy of Times Square Arts

Daniel Crooks

The Sub­tle Knife (excerpt), 2016 – 2021
​Mid­night Moment, Times Square
Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al: We Do Not Dream Alone’
1 – 31 Jan­u­ary 2021
Pho­to: Tatyana Tenen­baum, cour­tesy of Times Square Arts

Daniel Crooks

The Sub­tle Knife (excerpt), 2016 – 2021
​Mid­night Moment, Times Square
Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al: We Do Not Dream Alone’
1 – 31 Jan­u­ary 2021
Pho­to: Tatyana Tenen­baum, cour­tesy of Times Square Arts

Daniel Crooks

The Sub­tle Knife (excerpt), 2016 – 2021
​Mid­night Moment, Times Square
Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al: We Do Not Dream Alone’
1 – 31 Jan­u­ary 2021
Pho­to: Tatyana Tenen­baum, cour­tesy of Times Square Arts

Daniel Crooks

The Sub­tle Knife (excerpt), 2016 – 2021
​Mid­night Moment, Times Square
Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al: We Do Not Dream Alone’
1 – 31 Jan­u­ary 2021
Pho­to: Tatyana Tenen­baum, cour­tesy of Times Square Arts

Daniel Crooks

The Sub­tle Knife (excerpt), 2016 – 2021
​Mid­night Moment, Times Square
Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al: We Do Not Dream Alone’
1 – 31 Jan­u­ary 2021
Pho­to: Tatyana Tenen­baum, cour­tesy of Times Square Arts

Daniel Crooks

The Sub­tle Knife (excerpt), 2016 – 2021
​Mid­night Moment, Times Square
Asia Soci­ety Tri­en­ni­al: We Do Not Dream Alone’
1 – 31 Jan­u­ary 2021
Pho­to: Tatyana Tenen­baum, cour­tesy of Times Square Arts