Jennifer West Plans Mile-Long Celluloid at the High Line

A work by Jennifer West. (Courtesy

The Friends of the High Line announced today that the artist Jennifer West will present a day-long performance on September 13 that involves a mile-long length of celluloid film. Visitors to the park will walk on the strip, or otherwise manipulate it, and Ms. West will turn the resulting material into a movie.

The entire press release follows:

New York, NY (August 15, 2012) – Presented by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art is pleased to announce that Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer West will present One Mile Parkour Film, a day-long performance taking place on the High Line from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Thursday, September 13, 2012. The artist will invite the public to walk on, touch, dance, and alter a one-mile-long celluloid filmstrip adhered to the entire length of the High Line’s pathway. After the performance, West will turn the filmstrip into a video, which will be screened on the High Line at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. One Mile Parkour Film is part of HIGH LINE ART PERFORMANCES, a series that transforms the park into an open-air theater with performances on and around the High Line.

Jennifer West is known for using unusual materials to alter her films, drawings, and collages. She has used coal-tar dye, eyeliner, whiskey, hot sauce, deodorant, and even skateboard wheels. For the High Line, West will stage a public performance by taping a one-mile-long 35mm filmstrip to the High Line pathway for one day during park hours. The thousands of visitors to the High Line that day will be invited to leave their mark on the filmstrip with their shoes, heels, and hand prints to etch the film with the walkway’s many surfaces. Visitors are encouraged to wear stilettos, tennis shoes, combat boots, bare feet, or other shoes that to significantly alter the film. After the performance, the filmstrip will be treated with related materials and actions, a signature of West’s work.

The 59-minute filmstrip features images shot by West and her crew in June 2012 of New York locations typically not accessible to the general public. The film also features performances by two New York-based Parkour artists, Thomas Dolan and Vertical Jimenez. Best known for their ability to spontaneous run through urban environments and rooftops, their flips, jumps, rolls, and handstands were double-exposed over images shot around the High Line.

After the performance, the marked-up film will then be transferred to high definition digital format and shown on the High Line in October.

“What I love about this complex performance is that it takes the High Line not only as its subject, but as its own medium,” said Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen Jr. Curator & Director of High Line Art. “Jennifer’s film functions as a receptacle of all activities that go on unnoticed everyday on the High Line. Park’s viewers, workers, and passersby will leave their traces on the film, which will then be shown in the very place where it was produced.”

About Jennifer West
Jennifer West was born in Topanga, California, and lives and works in Los Angeles. Major solo exhibitions include S1 Artspace, Sheffield, England (2012); Vilma Gold, London (2011); Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles (2011); Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (2010); Western Bridge, Seattle (2010); Kunstverein Nuremberg, Nuremberg, Germany (2010); Vilma Gold, London (2008); Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2008); and White Columns, New York (2007). Select group exhibitions include Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany (2010); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2010); Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, New York (2009); The Drawing Center, New York (2008); Musee d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France (2007); Tate St. Ives, Cornwall, England (2001, 2007); and ZKM Museum for New Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (2007), among others. She was an Artist in Residence at the MIT List Visual Arts Center (2011) and made a commissioned work for the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, London (2009). She received a Master of Fine Arts from Art Center, Pasadena, California, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. West was shortlisted for the 2012 3rd Annual Nam June Paik Center Award in Korea.

About High Line Art
Presented by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art commissions and produces public art projects on and around the High Line. Founded in 2009, High Line Art presents a wide array of artwork including site-specific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video programs, and a series of billboard interventions. Curated by Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator & Director of High Line Art, and produced by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art invites artists to think of creative ways to engage with the uniqueness of the architecture, history, and design of the High Line and to foster a productive dialogue with the surrounding neighborhood and urban landscape.

High Line Art is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. High Line Art is made possible by Donald R. Mullen, Jr., with additional support from Vital Projects Fund, Inc. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

About the High Line and Friends of the High Line
The High Line is an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the transformation of the High Line at the rail yards, the third and final section of the historic structure, which runs between West 30th and West 34th Streets.

For further information on High Line Art, please visit

Jennifer West Plans Mile-Long Celluloid at the High Line