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Spin zone: Teens build giant flipbooks on Dumbo street

Teen team: A group of teenagers gather around the flipbooks that they built in Dumbo.
for Brooklyn Paper
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This new art project is flippin’ fantastic!

A pair of enormous, solar-powered, steel-and-glass enclosed flipbooks designed by teenagers are now on display in Dumbo’s Pearl Street Triangle. But if you want to experience the moving pictures for yourself, you had better bring a friend — one person needs to crank a handle on the side of the devices to let another enjoy the show. The team-up nature of the public art project is a deliberate part of its design, said one member of the group behind the devices.

“Our philosophy is collaborat­ion,” said Cassie Broadus-Foote, of Dumbo’s Beam Center. “So even enjoying the flipbooks you have to do it with two people.”

The solar cells atop each device soak up power during the day to fuel light-emitting diodes, so the moving papers can be viewed by day or night.

Each of the five-foot-tall contraptions was designed, framed, welded, and illustrated by a dozen New York City teens, as part of a months-long collaboration with the Beam Center. The teenage fellows suggested illustrations based on their own lives and neighborhoods, including images of a person welding, city streets, and old apartment building. Artist Ebony Bolt designed the actual sketches, and hundreds of community members traced and copied the pictures, in a project facilitated by the Dumbo Business Improvement District.

The flipbooks, on display until the end of August, aim to connect people through art by telling a single story through hundreds of illustrations — which makes the project a perfect fit for the neighborhood, said the director of the neighhorhood’s business improvement district.

“As a neighborhood, Dumbo harnesses the spirit of innovation and creativity,” said Alexandria Sica. “This project represents both, as well as the collaborative nature of our community.”

See the Flipbooks at the Pearl Street Triangle (Pearl Street at Water Street in Dumbo, beamcenter.org). On display daily through August. Free.

Updated 8:40 am, July 8, 2019
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