Brooklyn-based artist duo, FAILE, just installed this anti-consumerism prayer wheel in in the heart of American capitalism – Times Square, New York City. FAILE, comprised of Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, were granted the installation as a Times Square Arts project. Currently, they also have an exhibit across the East River in the Brooklyn Museum, entitled Savage/Sacred Young Minds.
Prayer wheels are traditional to Asian cultures and give those who walk by and spin them much the same effect as orally reciting prayers. Though FAILE’s prayer wheel does not send out silent meditative thoughts on harmony, kindness, empathy and peace. Instead, their wheel and alter is nearly covered in images and text that speak to the social reality of the American present. Words and phrases like “Celebrity”, “Secret Places”, “Lottery”, “XXX”, “Artificial Flowers”, and “Truth & Lies” cover all surfaces. When one spins the wheel (which is apparently very heavy and difficult to do – on purpose???) loud voices try to get your attention and neon lights glow. The prayer wheel is a kaleidoscopic portrayal of Times Square’s history to the present day, where consumerism, pop culture, desire and spectacle entangle together. FAILE has always stood in the way of modern society, holding a mirror to us all, showing our social reality in a different light through their art. We always look forward to their next intervention!
(all photos © Jamie Rojo)