Borrowed Light

Public Art

Borrowed Light

Borrowed Light was a collaboration between artist Sari Carel and Sunset Park stewards to create an installation based on a soundscape from field recordings of native species. The sound piece emanated from speakers embedded in a sculptural focal point, encouraging park visitors to interact with both sound and structure. Utilizing free-standing wood elements, the sculpture, reminiscent of Modernist design, the city's grid lines, and the Manhattan skyline aimed to redefine relationships between sound, image, and audience.
About the project
Sari Carel

May 8 – October 5, 2015


Located next to the Sunset Park Recreational Center
44th St & 7th Ave, Brooklyn


Sound installation played intermittently throughout the day.

Turning Point Advanced ESOL Class.
Summer 2015
“Our Experience Making Music with Natural Sounds”

August 15, 2015, Arts Celebration
At the site of the sculpture & sound installation


Sari Carel, Borrowed Light, 2015, Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
  • Project description
  • About the artist
Sari Carel, Borrowed Light, 2015, Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Sari Carel worked with Sunset Park’s stewards to gather data on the park’s local fauna; She collected field recordings of these native species and created a richly layered soundscape for the installation. The piece was played from speakers embedded in the sculpture, and park visitors were invited to engage with both sound and sculpture.

The project’s sculptural element formed a small architectural environment, acting as a focal point and physical marker for the presence of the less material sound piece. Made out of several free-standing wood elements, this grouping drew on a Modernist vocabulary, using forms that were anchored in a utilitarian past, but also departed from that. The forms echoed the grid lines of the city, and created a drawing in space, conversing with the emblematic image of the Manhattan skyline visible from Sunset Park.

Borrowed Light was part of Carel’s continued investigation into alternative relationships between sound, image and audience. More importantly, Borrowed Light gave participants an opportunity to form a personal experience with an art piece and get a palpable sense of the creative process as both a private and public practice. The project’s main goal was to open the creative process and give participants a hands-on experience of the playfulness and enhanced receptivity that are at the core of art making but are rarely discussed in arts classes or museum tours.

información en español | 在中國的說明

Sari Carel

Based in Brooklyn, New York, much of multi-media artist Sari Carel's work focuses on translation from one modality to another. Her projects consider interspecies communication, relationships between people and place, and how the senses inform our perception. Also an environmental activist, Sari is a sharp observer of ecosystems, be they natural or human.

Carel’s work has been exhibited and screened internationally in venues such as Artists Space, Dumbo Arts Festival, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York; LAX Art and Young Projects in Los Angeles; Genia Schreiber University Gallery in Tel Aviv, and Haifa Museum of Art in Israel and Locust Projects in Miami. She has been awarded numerous fellowships and residencies, including AIR at the Stundars Museum, Finland; AIR Vienna; the Socrates Sculpture Park Artist Fellowship and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Residency on Governors Island, New York; and the Bundanon Residency, in Australia.

Recent exhibitions include The Coyote After-School Program at Melanie Flood Projects, Portland, OR and The Shape Of Play, a public art project in Boston’s North End, commissioned by JARTS and curated and produced by Now & There.

  • Community Outreach
  • Natural Sounds Music Workshop
  • Partners and Supporters
Sari Carel, Borrowed Light, 2015, Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Conceived specifically for Sunset Park, “Borrowed Light” was enriched by outreach programs for neighborhood children and other interested community members organized by More Art in collaboration with local organizations, such as PS 169, Sunset Park HS, Turning Point Educational Center, Center for Family Life, and the Sunset Park Recreation Center. More Art educators and the artist led art, music and literary workshops, free and open to the public, for different age groups, in which the sculpture was the thematic fulcrum as well as a stage-set. Participants learned about the essential role of art, music and nature in an urban environment through hands-on activities that open the creative process to everyone by underscoring the playfulness and enhanced receptivity that are at the core of art making. The installation also became the backdrop for a series of evening events run by our community partners, comprising live performances, music and food, that brought the entire community together in the spirit of art and collaboration.

Sunset Park has a vibrant history and diverse community. The neighborhood demonstrated its resilience through the crime-ridden 1980’s and has seen great positive changes in the last few years. When immigrant families were priced out of other areas of the city, the neighborhood provided the opportunity for affordable housing. However, Sunset Park is now in an extremely vulnerable position as the ongoing waves of gentrification continue in Brooklyn—one of the most expensive housing markets in the United States. With development on the horizon, it is critical for the community to express their voice in directing their course.

Musical performance by ESOL students of Turning Point Brooklyn Education Center led by Sari Carel and composer Eli Keszler. At the Arts Celebration event hosted by More Art, 2015, Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

During August 2015, Sari Carel and composer Eli Keszler worked with advanced ESOL students of Turning Point Brooklyn Education Center in a series of “making music from nature” workshops. Each students brought a separate skill-set to the table and learned to create sound from drawing, rustling leaves, and using small microphones to amplify the sound of found textures – including: tree bark, rocks, and dirt. The workshop culminated with a public musical performance at the site of Borrowed Light in Sunset Park as part of an ‘Arts Celebration.’

Turning Point Advanced ESOL Class Summer 2015
“Our Experience Making Music with Natural Sounds”
“I felt the natural charm of music. I learned how to play the drums. I am very grateful to the teachers for their patience as music guides. They let us have more confidence to go to the performance.” – An Qiao Andrew Chen

“When we played in the music workshop I enjoyed it. We only use sticks, leaves, stones, pencils to make different natural sounds. Two sticks make percussion together. They make a nice melody. Blowing a leaf is like wind. We played all together. We also sang “Jasmine Flower” and played Mexican music too. It was a lot of fun for us.” – Hai Ying Chen

“One thing I enjoyed about the natural sounds music project was having fun with my classmates because all of us together can make music. Each of us can make the sound that we like, the sound of wind, trees, rocks and more natural sounds. When we join all those sounds with the help of the guys who run the project, we can make some music, and we can also include what we like to do. The Chinese classmates are singing a classic Chinese song and I can play the accordion.” – Oscar Villano

“I appreciated the elder ladies’ passion for music and for learning everything. I never knew by using leaves, stones, sand, pencils…we can make very beautiful sounds. I appreciated the music teachers’ creativity. I enjoyed the song “molihua”. It is a very old and popular song in China. This song with beautiful melodies expresses people’s love of life and beauty.” – Kendra Zhang

“After being part of this project New York instead of being a noisy city has become a music filled city for me. I loved the way the process of creating the natural sounds composition changed the way I hear now and expanded my awareness of what is music.” – Maritza Arrastia

Community Partners

PS 169, Sunset Park
Special thanks to our Spanish language translator Meli Garber, MPH

Kickstarter Funders

Tom Huhn, John Ryan, Cynthia Conigliaro, Jeffery Jones, Naomi Fry, Don Gibson, Melissa Rachleff Burtt, Tovia Freedman, Cynthia & Rafi Carel, Lori Sherman, Micaela Giovannotti, Jack St. Clair, Eyal Sella, Margaux Caniato, Jamie Cantwell, Melanie Flood, David Ling, Vered Benhorin, Mary Barone, Paul Pfeiffer, Danna Gal, Jake Loeterman, Greg Hargreaves, Jen Bergeron, Perry Chen,  Garrett, Dana Levy, Carol & Chris Mammano, Merrill Sterritt, Keren Albala






Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant