24 hour empire

an art & science project by josh michaels
january 7-16, 2016 - Upfor gallery, portland

On the night of July 25th, 1964, Andy Warhol and Jonas Mekas spent six and a half hours filming the Empire State Building from the 41st floor of the Time-Life Building. This was one of the earliest in a series of underground films by Warhol that focused on a single subject for an extended period of time. These films were completely unconventional at the time but foreshadow the entire culture of always on video cameras that exists today. In 2014 the film celebrated its 50th anniversary which included showings in New York and a special silver illumination of the Empire State Building on the night of the original filming.

The show attempts to answer the following questions: if Warhol and Jonas were to make Empire today, how would they do it? What equipment would they use? How long would they film for? How would they frame and present the shot? The show features the results of this explorations presented in a variety of mediums including video, print, and interactive.


The show is comprised of six artworks in a variety of mediums that all capture the Empire State Building over an extended period of time. Each piece utilizes the original 24 Hour Empire videos in a different way that makes the work more or less accessible.


VHS Cassette + Electronic Sculpture
2016 - Josh Michaels, Hal Bergman

This piece presents the original VHS version of 24 Hour Empire on nine displays in a square configuration. This combination video artwork and sculpture attempts to meld Warhol's love for repetition and long video into one.

24 Hour Empire Channel

Digital Video + Custom Software for Apple TV
2016 - Josh Michaels, Hal Bergman

This piece presents 24 Hour Empire as an always on television channel. It utilizes the digital original of 24 Hour Empire and custom software to slow the video down in accordance with how the original Empire was presented. This is the first use of Apple TV in a gallery installation by an artist.


Digital Video + Custom Software for Apple TV + 3D Print + Pico Projector
2016 - Josh Michaels, Hal Bergman, Ben Purdy

This is a tiny version of the 24 Hour Empire Channel meant for window installations and small spaces. It is visible in the gallery window during the show. The 3D Print is based on a model by DesignShareMake. 


24 Hour Empire x12

12 Photographs
2016 - Josh Michaels, Hal Bergman

This piece presents 24 Hour Empire as a set of 12 photographs capturing a roughly 14 hour period including day, sunset, night, and sunrise. 


24 Hour Empire x24

24 Lenticular Prints
2016 - Josh Michaels, Hal Bergman, Gifpop

This piece is composed of 24 lenticular prints one for every hour of the day. Each lenticular is composed of 10 frames from that hour. Each can be observed individually to experience the change within that hour and the set can be observed as a whole to experience the change over the course of a day. 


24 Hour Empire X130

Interactive Installation
2016 - Josh Michaels, Hal Bergman, Dimitrii Pokrovoskii

This piece utilizes a large display, computer software, and a Microsoft Kinect to enable viewers to interact with the complete 24 Hour Empire photographic sequence. Viewers can move through time by stepping left and right, expanding parts to look more closely by walking forward, and collapsing down to a single view showing slices of the entire day by walking backward. 

Remakes and Homages

Countless remakes, remixes, and homages to Empire have been made over the years. They range from exact recreations to equally long videos of comparable buildings to short and comical videos. Here is a select list of existing works based on Empire.

Empire 24/7 - Wolfgang Staehle (1999-2004)

Empire (after Andy Warhol) - Eric Doeringer (2012)

Empire II (Burj Khalifa) - Brusselssprout (2011)

Empire II - Eli Obus

Empire in Lego - AD Pawley 

Republic (Eiffel Tower) - Darren Lago

Empire Homage - Billy Beyond

Empire Companion Piece Interview




1/7/2016 - Opening / First Thursday - 6PM-8PM

1/9/2016 - 24 Hour Showing - 1PM-1PM (next day)

1/16/2016 - Closing - 6PM-8PM