On the 10th of July, anyone walking through central London will have been greeted with towering projected messages reminiscent of Jenny Holzer: “Tories are nightlife vandals”, read the Houses of Parliament, while the Ministry of Justice was lit up with “repeat after us: trans women are women” and Nelson’s column proclaimed “no Trump”. Dazed, in collaboration with New York-based group The Illuminator, are the minds behind the project, aptly titled #AddressTheNation.
Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the first action of this kind for The Illuminator: their projection of “there is a rapist in the White House” onto the Washington Trump International Hotel was covered by global news outlets, and they’ve been responsible for hundreds of publicly displayed slogans - what they describe as ‘acts of incitement and invitation’ – all around the world.
Besides being indisputably public and physically large, there are obvious benefits to projection-protests of this kind, if you can get your hands on the technology: the law is often mercifully vague, even though there’ll always be an inevitable call to the police, as projecting causes no physical damage nor counts as conventional trespassing. To the end of opening up this route of ‘activating public spaces’ to more people, The Illuminator has a freely downloadable manual explaining the basics of urban projection and the equipment involved in it. Given the increasing availability of tools of this kind together with a pressing need to make the public pay attention to looming issues of violence, corruption and abuse, it would come as no surprise to see more calls to action up around the city in coming months. Keep your eyes on the sky.