The latest installation to grace Midtown as part of the Garment District Art on the Plazas public art program is off the scale. Entitled Echoes – A Voice from Unchartered Waters, the sculpture of a 55-foot-long majestic steel whale offers an interactive sound and light experience.

Garment District Whale
The tail of the Mathias Gmachi whale in the Garment District. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The installation by artist, designer and researcher Mathias Gmachl invites viewers to reflect on the impact of everyday activities on nature and the environment.  Visitors are welcomed by a melodic soundscape that reflects the tranquil underwater world of the whale – mirroring the harmonious existence that is possible when humans coexist respectfully with the natural world.

If you look more closely, the installation reveals a layer of noise pollution, representing the modern industrialized world and society’s harmful invasions of the Earth’s ecosystems. This stark contrast is intended to encourage viewers to reflect upon the impact of human activities on ecosystems and inspire discussion about the planet’s future.

Garment District Whale
The whale is proving a hit on Broadway with locals and visitors. Photo: Phil O’Brien

With its serene ambiance, Echoes – A Voice from Unchartered Waters is a magnificent installation that will captive passersby with its beauty while sparking important conversations about the future of our planet,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance. “We are thrilled to showcase Mathias Gmachl’s incredible work, and we invite the public to marvel at this display in the Garment District this fall.”

Gmachi shared the thought process behind his artwork: “I want to provide an open space – a platform – for the public to have conversations about the future of our planet. Not just about whales, but of all life that exists,” he said. “The need to create room to learn, and dream, of a better future feels more pressing than ever. The installation is my small contribution towards a larger shift in the narratives and actions needed.”

Garment District Whale
A Jonah view of the Broadway plaza whale. Photo: Phil O’Brien

You’ll find the installation on the Broadway plazas in the Garment District between W38th and W39th Streets. It’s free and available to the public through November 13 — and we’re sure you’ll have a whale of a time!

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