By Naveen Kumar
The artist Nell Breyer ‘02 has long been fascinated by the relationship between bodies and space, as a masters student in the MIT Media Lab (2000-2002) and as a research affiliate at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (2002-2010). So when Central Synagogue in Manhattan asked her to create an installation that would reinvigorate its soaring sanctuary and welcome people back to in-person services, the project was an ideal match.
As a member of the congregation herself, Breyer was familiar with the function and meaning of the space, and wanted to create a piece that would complement its grandness and serenity. “It’s a very rich, ornate, and beautiful sanctuary,” Breyer says. “I was very aware of the challenge of trying to insert something that doesn’t prevent people from being together, especially in a spiritual context and in a religious practice.”