About That “Last Chance” Written in the Sky Last Night

Posted on: October 10th, 2011 at 6:18 am by

Shortly before 6 pm last night, pedestrians on the streets of the Lower East Side, and elsewhere, gazed to the sky in bewilderment.  An ominous message was slowly written by a solo aircraft, and not very well, we might add (lack of symmetry). “Last Chance,” it read. We overheard numerous people speculating as to the proper meaning.  Was it some marketing campaign or last-ditched message to a loved one?; or related to the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest?; or maybe even a cry for help? Twitter pretty much exploded with picture posts.

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Something dire or juicy it was not.  In fact, it was simply a massive public art installation by Kim Beck. The ambitious feat is entitled “The Sky is the Limit/NYC,” in which the artist hired a pilot to sky-write three different messages at dusk – “All Sales Final,” “Last Chance,” “Now Open,” and “Everything Must Go.” Her intention was doubly to gauge reactions from the High Line and below.

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More about the skywriting:

“In The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West writes ‘Surrender Dorothy’ in the sky,” Beck explained in a statement. “‘The Sky Is the Limit/NYC’ echoes this vague threat, in this case of a double-dip recession, while using the media of smoke to create a drawing in the sky.” Beck also is interested in documenting the social gathering itself that will take place on the High Line and down below. “When, in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, a crowd gathers to piece together skywriting, the spectacle unites disparate groups, as they cluster together to find meaning in the urban landscape. I am looking for folks to become a part of it by taking pictures.” Beck is encouraging viewers to take photos of the messages and post them online; she has even given shutterbugs tips on how to frame their pictures and also by identifying excellent viewing spots, which include the High Line, the Hudson River Greenway and Battery Park in Manhattan, East River Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, and Hoboken, Pier C, Maxwell Place Park, and Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, the first use of skywriting for advertising was in 1922.

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