If you’re looking for a novel and arty way to ring in 2021, it’s worth checking out the latest digital art work emblazoned on the celebrated Piccadilly Lights screen as the new year chimes in. In the run up to midnight, the digital art platform Circa will present a special commission (One) by German artist Anne Imhof—winner of the 2017 Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale—on the landmark digital hoarding in central London. To top off this NY treat, the fabled rocker, poet and artist Patti Smith will present a 15-minute performance at the stroke of midnight, marking the beginning of her Circa 20:21 January residency. Imhof’s montage, filmed during her Tate Modern stint in 2017, and Smith’s gig will be streamed on Circa’s YouTube Channel (no doubt the safest way to view the works in light of coronavirus restrictions).
Circa is the brainchild of the artist Josef O’Connor, who first approached the site owners Landsec with a tweet proposing an art project. Each month a different artist is invited to occupy the colossal illuminated canvas with a specially commissioned work that ponders on our turbulent times (the initiative is supported by Gagosian gallery). The first c.20:20 exhibition in Piccadilly was dedicated to Ai Weiwei. The next phase, c.20:21, launches with Patti Smith who has created a new work for the month of January, which will be screened every evening at 20.21 GMT in Piccadilly Circus.
Imhof says in a statement: “It is an honour to show my piece ONE on the iconic screens of Piccadilly Circus leading up to midnight on New Year’s Eve as part of the c.20:20 project. The opportunity to take over Europe’s largest advertising display and open a portal to hope in the final moments of 2020 is humbling. Peace, freedom and respect for everyone in 2021.”
UPDATE (30 December): Following the latest advice of the Metropolitan Police and the evolution of Covid-19 restrictions in London, the Circa New Year’s Eve presentation by Anne Imhof and Patti Smith will no longer be screened in Piccadilly Circus on 31 December. The work will still be broadcast online via www.circa.art and on the Circa YouTube channel between 23.45 and 00.15 GMT.