2003-06-13 / Community

T’ai Chi Army At Fort Tilden

T’ai Chi Army At Fort Tilden

In anticipation of their deployment overseas this fall, Bill Beirne and his T’ai Chi Army will appear at Battery Harris, an abandoned WWII gun emplacement at Fort Tilden, in the Gateway National Recreation Area. The installation consists of a live video surveillance projection, and the army of over a thousand disarmed toy soldiers and will also include performances by the artist at 2, 5 and 7PM each day.

The concept for the T’ai Chi Army grew out of the artist’s longstanding interest in "the gaze of the other," as well as his study of T’ai Chi, a martial art based on concepts of self defense and a heightened awareness of the space in which we move.  Drawing a parallel between this awareness and the current emphasis on National Defense, Homeland Security and increased levels of alert, Beirne offers an absurd alternative to preemptive aggression as a means of defense.

Beirne states, "I do not consider myself an advanced student of T’ai Chi. Although my study has continued for several years, it is the imperfections in the ‘playing’ of the form that most interests me. While this piece is intended as a commentary on the length to which our government has gone in the name of self defense and national security and, although the practice of T’ai Chi is beneficial to the general well being of anyone who would practice it, the idea that T’ai Chi could be used in any practical sense as a deterrent to the weapons of modern warfare is left for the viewer to decide."

Beirne’s work has been featured in New York at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (1976,1977,1997,1999,2001) The Sculpture Center (1994), The International Center of Photography (1992,1994) The Whitney Museum of American Art (1979,1991) Fashion Moda (1986) Artists Space (1978), D’Arc Gallery (1977), and 112 Greene Street Workshop (1976). His work has also been shown at The National Center for Contemporary Art in Kaliningrad, Russia (2001), The TV Gallery Moscow (1999 and 2000) and at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, MA (1997). The T’ai Chi Army is scheduled for deployment to Act 3 in Valence, France in the fall 2003.

For additional Information, contact the Rockaway Artists Alliance. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Rockaway Artists Alliance and the National Parks Service/ Gateway National Recreation Area.

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