Over the weekend we finally stopped by Socrates Sculpture Park and witnessed the giant floating Buddha, entitled Floating Echo. It is a giant inflatable, transparent Buddha sitting on a lotus, calmly floating in the East River “like an invisible being” just off the edge of Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria/LIC. It is part of the Sculpture Park’s Emerging Artist Fellowship program AKA EAF12 (here’s how to apply for EAF13).
Floating Echo is a giant transparent inflatable statue of Buddha. Its subtle presence embraces and reflects the surroundings, both natural and man-made. It is seemingly present and absent at the same time. What one sees is one’s own environment rather than the Buddha itself. What will you see? In this major work by Chang-Jin Lee, the form of the Buddha is rendered in clear plastic, a ubiquitous and finite everyday material for a statue that represents values of intangibility, timelessness, and renewal.
The artist says this about the statue:
Through the statue one can see the nature,landscape and architecture around the water. Its subtle presence embraces and reflects the surroundings, both natural and man-made. It is seeming present and absent at the same time.
In a NY Times article, the aspect of calm associated with the statue is pronounced, “Many said the Buddha artwork, ‘Floating Echo’ seemed to intensify the sense of peace they regularly found at the Socrates Sculpture Park.” It really does seem calm just floating there in the water. One could watch it for hours.
Its life in NYC has not been without lack of calm. It was deflated by park staff before Hurricane Sandy hit, which is a good thing because this riverfront park was completely flooded by the East River during the storm. We wonder how the icy cold waters will affect it during this winter season, and hope it will not damage it.
In 2011 it was part of the Busan Sea Art Festival in Korea. Floating Echo will be available for viewing here in Astoria/LIC until Sunday, March 3, 2013.