Times Square Arts presents a visual lullaby for the city in filmmaker and theatrical video artist Tal Yarden’s Counting Sheep on Times Square’s electronic billboards from 11:57 pm to midnight throughout December. This project is a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts.
For the year’s end, Counting Sheep shepherds us into a soothing American pastiche of expansive Wyoming landscapes. The film follows the Meike brothers, octogenarian sheep ranchers, through the arc of the year’s natural seasons, from the winter fields to the Big Horn Mountains in summer before trailing home in the fall. Yarden, a seminal video artist who recently designed video for The Crucible on Broadway and David Bowie’s Lazarus, first began filming the Meike brothers and their herds to create a backdrop for the opera of Brokeback Mountain in Madrid. Now, a work with its origins in theater spills out into the streets and screens of Times Square, even as it immerses one of the world’s most urbanized environments in the vast landscapes and skies of the Wyoming countryside. And in the city that never sleeps, amidst the largest concentration of hotel beds, Yarden plays on the classic idea of counting sheep to help us pass into a night’s slumber or peacefully lead us into the new year.