If you were passing through Times Square last night and saw a strange humanoid wearing a space suit and white orb helmet, riding a live horse (with similar helmet), do not be alarmed.

The creature behind that cloak was none other than Ati Maier, a Brooklyn-based artist who has been shooting her newest video over the last few days. Titled The Placeless Place, it is Maier’s second live-action video featuring the Space Rider and horse.

The first was titled The Map Is Not the Territory and it debuted at The Boiler Gallery in Williamsburg in 2013, replete with rock-salt covering the floor, shaped like the lunar surface. The Map was filmed by Maier and crew in the Wyoming desert, and it showed the plodding traveler on horseback following a comet shooting across an ominous night sky. For the new video, Maier filmed in Times Square, beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, and at Corona Park, home of the 1964-65 World’s Fair (recently seen in the Disney film, Tomorrowland).

According to the artist, her Space Rider character first developed in an early psychedelic landscape painting, where Maier’s loping, zig-zagging lines converge to create a sense of the universe’s unseen power. She has since developed the Space Rider as a cinematic an alter-ego, searching for habitable territories with a sense of singularity, even tunnel-vision.

Where The Map Is Not the Territory felt like a search for belief, the Placeless Placeat least as far as last night’s shoot was concernedshifts the focus back to community.

Though Maier had permits to shoot in these iconic locations (and producers to help execute her vision), once she mounted the horse and began riding through Times Square, the production took on something of a documentary feel. Onlookers snapped selfies, stood in front of the animal asking questions like, “Did she really come from outer space?” or “Is this for Lady Gaga’s new music video?” The mix of reactions went from stunned to sublimely anoetic. People smiled, stared, one young girl cried. Ads for Coca Cola, the Lion King, and Target beamed down from above.

It finally dawned on me that the big question of life may not be: ‘What am I doing here?,’ but rather, ‘What am I doing now that I’m here?’ (Brian Chidester)

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