“Invisible People” by Austin Coats
One day, I remember going to see a dance concert at Bryant Park. It was free of charge. I was
seated along the perimeter of the greenery near some trash bins. A woman dressed in a grey
hoodie, cargo capri pants, and sandals approached the bins with a smile. She snatches from the
top of the bin an unfinished ice coffee and takes a slurp, before spitting it out, almost as if it was
mouthwash. She rustles through the garbage, continuing to find more and more half-eaten food.
Notice, I have said none have helped, but I know she was noticed. Of course, she was
noticed—I’m writing the account I saw. Even I did not offer any help but just watched in a
shamed sorrow. Instances like this happen all the time.
This piece is centered around the idea of homelessness in New York City. The work is
comprised of four sections, each depicting a different scene inspired from daily interactions with
this dreadful normality. The idea is abstracted/distilled into several main movement scores based
on avoidance, focus, and assistance. The movement derives from research within the different
interactions, observations, and conversations concerning the topic. Feeling is also an important
factor to the work to be able to convey the message to the viewer. For someone to understand
that one needs help, the person needing help has to feel helpless.
For the community aspect of this project, I have set up receptacles around the Tisch dance
building accepting dry food and clothing to donate to the Salvation Army. Items will be accepted
up until the final day of the concert. Items will also be accepted at the door of the concerts, as
Lighting by Bailey Costa