“Suicidal Tendencies” by NohJColey, Interactive Sculpture With You as Saviour

Street Artist NohJColey continues to stretch his character studies and symbol-heavy storylines and build them into ever more interactive street sculpture. Not content with laborious hand cut and colored wheat-pasted flat pieces, his stuff on the street for almost a year has more dimension and engagement. Naturally, people interact with it and pretty quickly pieces are missing. Maybe it’s curiosity or maybe a Lower East Side messenger needed something to lock his bike to, but here are a couple of images of the piece as it first appeared in Manhattan, where the central form  can be adjusted to simulate the figurative and literal falling that can happen in a life.


“Suicidal Tendancies”, by NohJ Coley

Like the protagonist in Don DeLillos Falling Man, Coley’s character could be a metaphor for so many in New York who are losing jobs, wages, and a frayed social net that once prevented them from hitting the pavement.  While DeLilos book begins at the Twin Towers during a “time and space of falling ash and near night,” and the vision of office workers jumping out of the buildings, the simulation NohJColey creates here pertains to the plight of  bankers, latinos and those affected by mental illness. With American society as a burning building, this piece is entitled “Suicidal Tendencies” and the passerby can actually participate by preventing one man from jumping to his death, see another jumping in front of a train, and witness the anguished expression of the third at the base who has sadly succeeded in his pursuit.

Below are images taken yesterday of the installation, with parts already missing. While the complete story is not told with what remains, somehow they are still interactive.

brooklyn-street-art-nohjcoley-jaime-rojo-04-11-web-4NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coley spoke to Brooklyn Street Art about the stories behind the three chapter piece:

“I’m currently working on a series of interactive sculptures that are focused on recognizing mental illness.
Suicidal Tendencies, which is the first of the three is of course concentrated on suicide. The main figure is a stock broker who is unable to continue existing after the stock market has crashed. So, with his office windows ajar he jumps out. He is partially in purgatory and partially in what we know as existence.

When interacting with Suicidal Tendencies the main objective is to prevent two of the three subjects from committing the act of suicide. When in front of the main figure the viewer is meant to pull the subject up, averting the subject from committing the act of suicide. The succeeding figure is a Hispanic activist that turns to suicide after becoming exhausted with the notion of Hispanics being treated unjustly in the US. So, after another unsuccessful demonstration he comes to the conclusion that he wants to jump in front of a moving train. The main objective with the activist is to prevent the smaller figure from jumping in front of the moving train. The tertiary figure is a young college student that is too far gone to be redeemed.”


NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)


NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)


NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A local resident approached while we were shooting the installation to remark that the entire piece was there the day before, and he disapproved of whoever had removed part of it because he really liked it.   NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)