Spectres of Liberty

By Jessica Pasko

ghost_church_poster.jpgIf you're heading to Troy Night Out, check out the inflatable ghost church. Yes, we said inflatable-ghost-church. The site specific exhibit called Spectres of Liberty recreates a church that burned down in 1941 with the use of inflatable sculpture and video.

Artists Dara Greenwald, Joshua MacPhee and Olivia Robinson created the piece as a tribute to demolished buildings that were part of Troy's rich architectural history. But the Liberty Street Church was more than just a piece of architectural history, it was an important part of the abolitionist movement. Henry Highland Garnet, a one-time pastor of the all black church , was known around the world for speeches and publications calling for an end to slavery.

Inspired by this and other bits of Troy's history of social movements, the three artists decided to recreate the church at full-size using inflatable sculpture techniques and video projections. The completed piece will stand about 35 feet high, and is about 25 feet wide. When it's finally displayed tonight at 8:30, viewers will be able to actually go inside the church.

The piece has been in the works for a year, but the artists have been working pretty much around the clock for the last month. It's kind of a community effort. The Rensselaer County Historical Society provided photos of the church, the owner of the parking lot where the church once stood is donating it's use for the night and neighbors are allowing artists to use their apartment windows to project video of Henry Garnet's words onto the "church's" walls.

But at the end of the night, the inflatable ghost church disappears. For those who can't make it, artists have promised to post photos on the web.

Find It

Spectres of Liberty
22 Franklin Pl
Troy, NY 12180

Look for it on Liberty St between 3rd and 4th Streets

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