XYZ:NYC 10 Downing

10 Downing Street, New York NY 10011


Announcing XYZ:NYC 10 Downing- An exhibition by Australian artists Leslie Eastman and Natasha Johns-Messenger

A collaborative team since 2004, their work has historically focused on exploring real and perceived space through interventions in interior architecture. For XYZ:NYC 10 Downing, the pair will seek to challenge the perception of visitors through a three-part series of optical site installations designed to force visitors to experience and interpret alternate points of view. 

The first work in the exhibition, Pointform, will channel viewers through a planned tour of the space, their journey enhanced by a series of fabricated walls that terminate in various mirror systems which reflect off one another. These constructions will reveal new interpretations of the space, as well as an unusual presentation of a journey as the mirrors preview the visitors’ eventual destination. As they pass through the series of hallways they will arrive at the second phase of the exhibition, a large camera obscura device.

Installed to present a view of the busy stretch of Sixth Avenue outside 10 Downing Street - including a view of the noted restaurant Da Silvano, passing yellow-cabs and an artist intervention. The third, Synoptic 3, will be an interactive installation in which pairs of viewers, at appointed times, are invited to don video headsets created to display the point of view of the viewer’s partner and vice-versa. Participants will cooperate in entirely new ways to make their way through an unfamiliar setting and reality, literally forcing one to take on another’s point of view to navigate the world around them. 

Held at 10 Downing Street in the heart of New York’s West Village neighborhood - birthplace of bohemian culture and the gay rights movement, the exhibition will also aim to celebrate the area’s storied history while engaging the site-specificity that is essential to the artists’ practice. XYZ:NYC 10 Downing will examine the status of the West Village as a neighborhood in a state of flux; literally, rather than figuratively. Inside the ‘act of viewing’ each another through the artworks, the participant will experience an inter-play which breaks down social space. So, whether it be new residents, drawn to its stories and the architecture of a bygone era or students from developing nearby universities, or a new generation of families with young children having settled amidst an increasingly displaced elder class. These disparate groups will be afforded a neutral space in which they can experience one another through physical encounters. 


Exhibition runs Dec 7 to Dec 23, 2011. Open on Tues- Sun 1pm to 8pm.

Special hours on Dec 27 to 30, 2011. Open 1pm to 5pm

Synoptic 3 by appointment by emailing



The course of the exhibition will feature a series of staged “performances” in which participant viewers will engage in the video headset installation, Synoptic 3. The piece is viewed daily at 6 pm or by appointment. There will also be a panel discussion "In the Eye of the Beholder: Ethical Dimensions of Perception" held December 14 at 7 pm. The panel will discuss the work in relation to both the philosophical and psychological dimensions of perception in the context of the exhibition XYZ:NYC 10 Downing

Several student groups will be invited to tour the exhibition including a group from public school PS3, City As Alternative High School, LGBT student groups,  as well as from the local private school Little Red Schoolhouse. A scavenger-hunt children's workshop will happen on December 10th at 1pm.

Natasha has worked with NLE before, presenting one of the most popular art pieces at NLE’s past exhibit The Sixth Sense, a mirrored installation which bisected the room and challenged the viewer’s conceptual vision.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, Monash University Australia, American Australian Association, and generously supported by Stonehenge Partners.


Related events and programs


December 07, 2011 - January 05, 2012


Behind the scenes

See photos See photos