The Long Division

The Long Division (Installation View) photo by Alexa Hoyer


Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis
The Long Division

Time Equities Art-in-Building Program
55 5th Avenue Lobby
New York, NY 10003

internet based experience of project: [no longer active]

The Long Division, a multi-channel video installation, reconsiders the New York skyline by producing a
180 degree live view of the sky above 55 5th Avenue. Eight CCTV cameras mounted on the roof look
outward to trace a line between the Freedom Tower and Empire State Building. Eight monitors in the
lobby receive a distinct channel of the larger interconnected sweeping view. Simultaneously looking
both north and south, The Long Division reorients the viewer within Manhattan and creates a new, yet
impossible, view of this well-known path.

The absurdity of the technical and physical feats needed to accomplish this installation is not lost on the
artists; a viewer could simply step outside the lobby to see nearly the same skyline. However, the lens of
each camera frames the sky, allowing the artists to tune into a specific view. It removes the clamor of
New York City from the equation and creates a situation in which one can concentrate on a single thing,
a rare moment in New York. However, this rare, focused moment comes per the mediation of a screen.
The feed is live but will not be recorded, rendering each moment on screen as ephemeral and fleeting as
those in the sky.

The Long Division takes its title from the standard method for dividing multi-digit numbers by hand. It
also references the North-South and East-West divisions of New York. Both the mathematical exercise
and the urban mapping allows for an easier, more basic understanding of a larger sum or space. The
Long Division continues Cooley and Lewis’ collaboration In the Valley of the Sun, presented at Sonoma
State University in California. In the Valley of the Sun used CCTV cameras and flat screen TVs in the
Kevin Cooley & Phillip Andrew Lewis