Tilted Arc Ghost In The Square

Tilted Arc is original electroacoustic music and installations created by pianist & multidisciplinary artist Sophia Subbayya Vastek and composer & saxophonist Sam Torres.

Sam first approached me saying he was in an “electroacoustic duo project”. Just the way it was worded was music to my ears. I wanted to hear more. Sam’s name and work was also mentioned a few times in the studio by our then-intern Matthew Sullivan who is an experimental musician, sound artist and engineer. So I trusted the good things Matthew had to say. It was all within a language we spoke. The thought that music can be more than just music itself. It can be more than just lyrics or a verse and chorus. That said, Ghost In The Square is just that. It’s intense pieces of music and sound strung together peacefully and strategically in a patchwork of beauty.

Tilted Arc was a massive public sculpture by American artist Richard Serra, installed in Federal Plaza, New York City, in 1981. Made of steel, Serra’s signature material, it curved directly across the entirety of the plaza, and was built as a site-specific work. Tilted Arc was commissioned by the United States General Services Administration as part of a program to install permanent art in public spaces for new government buildings. However, there was controversy surrounding the piece from the very beginning. Government employees who worked on Federal Plaza collected over a thousand signatures to have it removed because of its obtrusiveness and perceived ugliness. But the opposition to Tilted Arc did not gain any real traction until 1984, when a new head of the GSA was appointed. At this point, a public forum was held, in which hundreds of people spoke for and against the removal of the work. 122 spoke against the removal, and 58 spoke in favor. The jury voted to have it removed. In 1989, Tilted Arc was removed from Federal Plaza in pieces, and put into storage indefinitely. The piece, designed only and specifically for the plaza, was effectively destroyed.


Produced by Sophia Subbayya Vastek and Sam Torres

Mastered by Mat Leffler-Schulman

Artwork by Sarah Gallina