I took the Roosevelt Island Tram over to see The Encampment By Thom Sokoloski. It was quite fascinating. He had set up 100 Civil War Canvas Tents on the Southpoint of the island next to the old asylum. They were illuminated from within and each one told a different story about the people who had been interned in the Island Hospital between 1828 and 1955.The New York Times describes the difficulties and challenges in getting The Encampment finished.
In the 80-degree weather of yesterday morning, a dozen volunteers showed up to help; most encountered a locked gate. Though Mr. Sokoloski spent months assembling the proper permits, security had been a constant issue: the site, part of what will become Southpoint Park, is usually closed to the public. Homeland Security officials were on high alert because of the United Nations General Assembly meeting just across the East River, and the police threatened to shut things down because of a miscommunication.Of course, The NY Times was wrong in stating that Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park "is usually closed to the public". In fact, Southpoint Park is usually open to the public unless there is some sort of security advisory in effect.
By noon only a dozen tents had been set up, and few were filled. Mr. Sokoloski’s partners, Jenny-Anne McCowan, a choreographer and outreach coordinator, and John McDowell, a composer, busied themselves marshaling the volunteers.
Even the construction supervisors — four Canadian military re-enactors, with extensive experience in putting up tents — were sweating. The exhibition, part of the annual Openhousenewyork weekend, was several hours behind schedule.
But Mr. Sokoloski, a Toronto-based artist who seems younger than his 57 years, remained calm. A former theater director (he worked at La MaMa in the 1980s) and location scout for movies, he is adept at making big projects work, like an opera he staged in Toronto’s main train station in 1992.
“It’s one thing after another, but you get used to it,” Mr. Sokoloski said. “You just keep going till the last moment, because who knows what will happen tomorrow?”
But the NYT does have a nice slide show of the Encampment including the tent image below.