Art project shows your face on Times Square billboard

NEW YORK Wed Mar 5, 2008 6:33am GMT

1 of 2. A series of still photographs that will be used to create a 30-second flipbook-style animation project to be shown on a giant electronic billboard in New York's Times Square.

Credit: Reuters/I in the Sky/Handout

NEW YORK (Reuters) - You don't have to be a model or a movie star to see your face on a Times Square billboard. A public art project opening this week lets anybody go into a photo booth and see the results on a skyscraper for free.

"I in the Sky" is the brainchild of artist Raul Vincent Enriquez, who uses a series of still photographs to create a 30-second flipbook-style animation of his subject.

The clips will be shown on a giant electronic billboard on top of the Conde Nast building at 4 Times Square from March 6 until April 26. The building's owner, the Durst Organization, is donating the billboard space.

"You sit in the photo booth and hit the button and it takes about 30 photos of you and then we animate them," Enriquez said during a media preview in a 45th-floor hotel suite overlooking the billboard.

The booth is located in the Chashama art gallery on West 44th street, just off Times Square. Within 15 minutes, visitors can walk a few blocks over to see their faces. The animations will also be posted on a Web site at (www.durst.org/iinthesky).

Visitors to the gallery have started taking pictures in the test phase and Enriquez said he had been surprised to see people using it to hold up written messages -- both personal and political.

"It's all been Obama; everybody has Obama fever," he said, referring to Democratic White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who is in a tight race for the presidential nomination with U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

"I haven't seen any Hillary yet," Enriquez added.

He and his assistants who do the animation are careful to screen the photos but so far he said there had been nothing unfit to show.

"I've seen a lot of happy birthday kind of stuff, with the big heart or just 'I love you' -- typical romantic stuff," he said. "I've yet to see somebody break up on there, but that would be kind of fun -- 'It's just not working' or something."

(Editing by Eric Walsh)