We Were Strangers Once Too

bringing dialogue about immigration to the busiest place on earth

Date: Winter 2017
For: Times Square Alliance

“Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger—we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.” —President Barack Obama

We Were Strangers Once Too is a public data sculpture which highlights the role that immigrants have played in the founding, development, and continued vibrancy of New York City.

Consisting of 33 metal poles each inscribed with the immigrant population in NYC coming from an individual nation, a viewer’s shift in perspective resolves the sculpture to an iconic heart when viewed from the statue of Father Duffy in the center of Times Square.

In the face of rising nationalism and xenophobia—both in our own country and across the world—it is vital to reaffirm our commitment to supporting the diverse populations around us. We Were Strangers Once Too uses local open data to make our city’s immigrant populations visible and centered (figuratively and literally, in Times Square) in the conversation, asserting that these populations are to be protected, championed, and loved.

We Were Strangers Once Too will be open to the public in Times Square, NYC from February 7 - March 6, 2017.