/ Xeni Jardin / 11 pm Thu, Nov 17 2011
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  • Interview with creator of Occupy Wall Street "bat-signal" projections during Brooklyn Bridge #N17 march

    Interview with creator of Occupy Wall Street "bat-signal" projections during Brooklyn Bridge #N17 march

    REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

    Earlier this evening, tens of thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched throughout New York City, many making their way on to the Brooklyn Bridge, carrying LED candles and chanting. As Occupiers took the bridge in a seemingly endless sea of people, words in light appeared projected on the iconic Verizon Building nearby:


    A few hours later I spoke with Mark Read, who organized the "bat-signal" project. He tells Boing Boing why and how he did this, and what technology he used.

    XJ: How did this come together?

    Mark Read: It came up at an action coordination meeting. We were talking about what to do on the 17th. We had a sense that the morning on Wall Street would be forceful and confrontational, and we wanted to not do the same kind of thing in the afternoon. Initial talks focused on having a thousand people taking the bridge in the afternoon, and continuing in a militant mode of activism. But we started thinking about creating a more unifying moment. A celebration of the birthday of Occupy Wall Street. Maybe taking the roadway and having lots of arrests might not be best thing. What if we took the pedestrian walkway, and gave out LED candles? We would give out 10,000 LED tea candles, a river of light streaming over the walkway.

    And a guy named Hero, who has been central to a lot of facets of the occupation since the beginning, turns to me and says, "We need a bat signal. The 99%."

    I said, I think I can do that. I know just enough about how the technology works that I think I can pull that off. And for the past two weeks, I've worked full time on figuring that out.

    My friend Will Etundi, who I know from these renegade street parties, the alter-globalization movement, carnivals against capital—he's part of a community of friends who deploy spectacle and art in the service of radical politics. Will and I have done other events that were about getting people into public space. Transforming the normal way we use space, turning it into a party, a roving community, something festive and mobile. Through that work, I'd already met people with a variety of skill sets, strange and magical abilities. I got in touch with them right away, and started pulling together a team. Who would have a 12K lumen projector, a big expensive piece of equipment, the most powerful projector you can get?

    I knew I wanted to throw it on the Verizon Building. Everyone who lives in New York has looked at that big monolithic structure. For some of us, every time we look at it we think of how cool it would be as a projection surface.

    I knew we'd need a powerful projector. But if you had something that expensive on loan for free, you couldn't just sneak it up on some roof and be in jeopardy.

    I knew I had to find someone who lived in a building nearby.

    XJ: How did you go about finding someone nearby who would allow you stage this from inside their home?

    MR: Opposite the Verizon building, there is a bunch of city housing. Subsidized, rent-controlled. There's a lack of services, lights are out in the hallways, the housing feels like jails, like prisons. I walked around, and put up signs in there offering money to rent out an apartment for a few hours. I didn't say much more. I received surprisingly few calls, and most of them seemed not quite fully "there." But then I got a call from a person who sounded pretty sane. Her name was Denise Vega. She lived on the 16th floor. Single, working mom, mother of three.

    I spoke with her on the phone, and a few days later went over and met her.

    I told her what I wanted to do, and she was enthused. The more I described, the more excited she got.

    Her parting words were, "let's do this."

    She wouldn't take my money. That was the day of the eviction of Zuccotti, the same day. And she'd been listening to the news all day, she saw everything that had happened.

    "I can't charge you money, this is for the people," she said.

    She was born in the projects. She opened up her home to us.

    She was in there tonight with her 3 daughters, 2 sisters. The NYPD started snooping around down on the ground while the projections were up, it was clear where we were projecting from, and inside it was festive.

    "If they want to come up they're gonna need a warrant!," her family was saying. "If they ask us, well, we don't know what they are talking about!" They were really brave and cool.

    REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

    XJ: Who wrote the words?

    MR: I did. A lot of it is just chants that we've heard. "We are the 99%," everyone knows that one. "We are unstoppable, another world is possible," a bunch of chants that have circulated around. "We are winning." There's one you'd see internationally, when Zapatistas are marching on the zocalo, and it circulated thorugh radical circles. "Failure isn't possible" is another I wanted to use, which I don't think made it in there.

    And "It's the beginning of the beginning." I loved that one. So frequently, things happen in the world that make it feel like we're at the beginning of the end. But—"the beginning of the beginning," what a radically optimistic statement that is.

    The scale of the environmental and economic crisis we are facing, it's extraordinary. This movement is a response to that crisis. Our leaders aren't responding to any of that in a way that is commensurate to the crises we face. And that one sign has always spoken to me. We have to throw off our despair about the future world we might be facing, because if we come together as people and humanity, we can change it. And what Occupy Wall Street makes me feel is that for the first time in a long time that might be possible.

    That means a lot to me. This is choosing hope over despair. This is actively and resolutely making that choice. It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be over in two months. It's not going to be just the result of conversation.

    XJ: How old are you?

    MR: I'm 45. The people who worked on this are a diverse range of ages. Some are in their 20s, but not all of us are that young. It's hard to study what's happening in the environment and with the global economy and not feel afraid. There is a lot to fear. One of the things we were projecting tonight, it was Max Nova's idea. "Do not be afraid." And I think that's so important.

    XJ: This event was to mark the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. We recently passed the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, and in a way, your message seems like a kind of antidote to the climate of fear that followed.

    MR: I guess it is. I watched 9/11 happen from my rooftop in Park Slope. I was there. It's been a crazy decade since then, a fearful time. And our leaders have stoked those fears, there's been a lot of fear-mongering. It's been like that for a decade, and it feels like we are turning a page. I know we're heading into winter in New York, but this feels like springtime.

    XJ: Who did the graphics, and what tools did you use to create the sequence, and project it?

    MR: Max Nova and JR Skola, from the art group Dawn of Man. They are video projectionists, and artists.

    They have done stuff in Zuccotti Park. I didn't know how I was going to put together the graphics, I'd been running around for the last two weeks trying to coordinate the team—you have to be able to live mix it, you need to understand how to make projections look right coming to the surface from an extreme angle, you need to be a VJ, and I'm not. So Max wound up being the guy. They used Modul8 VJ mixing software, a Sony 12K lumen projector that sells for around $10K. It's huge. It's more than 3 feet long, about 2 feet wide.

    The whole thing was a combination of high tech and super jerry-rigging on the fly. The Modul8 software we were using can do amazing things: sense the angle you're projecting at, even if it's extreme, and modify the image so it looks straight. But then, we held the projected in place with gaffer tape, a broomstick, some baling wire. We only had 20 minutes to get it ready.

    XJ: Were you worried about getting in trouble with the police?

    MR: I was so sure it was not against the law, but I didn't ask my lawyer friends. I didn't want to really know. The police knew where we were, they were pointing up to the window. But no one stopped us when we left.

    XJ: When did you get a sense of the reaction the Occupiers had, when they were marching on the bridge and saw the projections?

    MR: Oh, we could hear the crowd from the window. We heard them screaming, yelling. We had this idea that we would be able to mic check a short speech, and we timed the words so that it would fit with exactly how people would chant, just as they had been chanting these things for weeks.

    XJ: Now that it's done, how do you feel?

    MR: I feel immense gratitude to these youngsters for kicking my ass into gear. I'm feeling so much gratitude to everyone, for putting their bodies on the line every day, for this movement. It's a global uprising we're part of. We have to win.

    (Special thanks to @gemini_scorpio)


    / / COMMENTS


        1. I kind of feel rotten for saying that though.  There’s lots of “conservatives” (or whatever they want to call themselves) that are very giving people and can appreciate this story even if they don’t agree with everything.  But, that’s kind of why I said only 1 million heads would explode, the millions more are probably pretty touched by the story and many of them do things without profit motive or scoring afterlife points and are just kind (if confused, IMO) people.

          The rotten, greedy ones know who they are, though.  ;D

    1. Thank you for getting this interview. And thank you, Mark Read and the whole team that made this possible. 

    2. Genius. That projection shall stand as a great art masterpiece of the #Occupy movement.

      Mark Read: I bow to you and to your entire cohort. And I salute the hero Denise Vega for having the courage to host.

    3. Thank you Mark Read, Max Nova, JR Skola, Hero, Will, Xeni …

      …and thank you Denise Vega and family!!

      Things will get better as long as we don’t give up, ever.

      This is being introduced right now by Rep Jim McGovern:

      A Constitutional Amendment to repeal Citizens United & restore rights to people, not corporations.

      He wants us all to sign the petition at that link to show support.

    4. In the sixties they’d call it a happening.  Now it’s an epic happening!  All made out of light and energy- awesome!  Thanks!

    5. Just goes to show you… There’s GREED… and, there’s “everything else”! Like the woman said: “I can’t charge you money, this is for the people!!!” THAT’s what it’s all about… There’s “times”, when “there’s BIG MONEY; to be MADE”! THEN… there’s those “other” times, when: “it’s about PRINCIPLE”!!! THIS… was ONE OF THOSE times!!!

    6. This was the best idea I have ever heard.  I hope you do it again at your next march. I have never heard of anyone doing this before. It’s such a great message of hope. I thank you all for your ingenuity, guts & creativity. I especially thank the woman who did not accept any money. You know she needed it for her kids. Yet, she realized that she was part of something much, much bigger than money.  It seemed like she was grateful to be a part. I hope more people feel like that in the future.

    7. There are many ways to protest and make your voice heard, even when you are silent.
      Bravo for this amazing display reminding them you can drive the people from the streets, but that does not stop the movement.

      1. Bee yoot. Using the power of a giant corporate surface against itself is so Zen.

        Very Matrix-y too (with a dash of Fight Club)

      1. When the beginning is over, Denise Vega needs something named after her. Statues built on street corners. One of the nyan-nyan%

        I’d rather build her a single payer system for healthcare in this country so her children and children’s children will have a tremendously better future.

        Call it the “Vega System”.

      1. One of the advantages of not being a rightwinger is you get to know about, appreciate and be a part of stuff like this.  I feel sorry for Morning Joe.  I really do.

    8. This was wonderful; I wish I’d been there to see it happening. Thanks to the creators and to Denise Vega!

      Sadly, I think members of Congress will pay little attention unless they’re absolutely convinced all this energy will propel people to the polls, until their jobs are seriously threatened. People who say “The system is corrupt and voting just makes me part of it” or “There’s no difference between the candidates, why bother?” or “Maybe it would be a good thing if a Republican takes the White House, it will focus people’s anger” make me crazy. Bravo! That’s the kind of thinking that brought us the current Supreme Court; can anyone seriously think Gore appointees would have voted as the Bush court has? As the late great Molly Ivins said, sometimes you just hold your nose and vote. And work for better candidates.

      Perhaps the next coordinated message should be carried by each occupier and sent to her or his representatives: I VOTE – NY 20TH: GIBSON – SCHUMER – GILLIBRAND – OBAMA

    9. I think something like this could be done a lot easier with lasers, you can’t project a full color video with lasers like you would be able to do with this projector, but lasers are brighter and can thus project on to surfaces a standard LCD or DLP projector can’t do clearly.

      A green diode laser with an X-Y rig and a computer would be a lot smaller than the DLP projector used here, some systems could even fit in a backpack, imagine going from building to building, as soon as the police think they know where you’re set up, you’re a few blocks away.

      Better yet, how bout an X-Y laser rig mounted on a multicopter, fly from building to building.

      1. NYPD’s chief Kelly recently boasted of having surface-to-air strike capabilities (missiles?!). Imagine how excited NYPD would be to deploy those toys “for everyone’s safety” of course.

      1. I hope now that her name has been published, she doesn’t suffer harrassment from the city.

        If she does, OWS has her back.

    10. Anyone else get this new feeling of global goosbeumps? I swear I could almost FEEL the energy running from those words to the people’s hearts to mine and back again…..”the beginning of the beginning.”


    11. The OWS patriots (sounds better than protesters, the repubs have no copyright on the term ‘patriots’), Mark Read and crew, Denise Vega and family, all selfless in their actions – makes it even more disheartening to hear FoxNoise denigrate and insult the OWS patriots. That vile Rep Peter King in NY should be voted out of office next election for his insulting rant in re: OWS and the people participating. Bitter, spiteful troll of a man: Peter King.

    12. Mark it was amazing and wonderful last night.  I fear for Denis Vega though. You shouldn’t have named her, she lives in public housing and now will be harassed by Bloomberg. He is that petty.

    13. So fantastic & deeply appreciated. Thanks for your efforts. Am loving watching monkeywrenching the machine in the right way unfolding. Peace. Love. & even more light. In gratitude.

    14. I’m nearly speechless. Thank you Xeni for getting this interview. A huge ginourmous thank you to everyone who made this possible. I think this is the most magnificent piece of street theater I’ve ever witnessed elevating it to the level of sacred theater. Let’s hear it for the backstage crew that make the magic happen! I love you all.

    15. I ask (again): why aren’t corporate execs and government officials sitting at the feet of these people, going to their GA’s, studying and learning and taking notes instead of prisoners? I was walking all around downtown for hours yesterday evening and watched them completely outflank and dumbfound the NYPD into a complete and frozen state of incompetence and confusion. I saw how it happened: the vast organism at Foley dispersed (spontaneously?) into smaller units — one group was going along B’way, another took Worth St., another Center St. The cops were playing barricade-go-round with their little metal walls, sending peds (I was among them) directly into vehicular traffic and compounding the chaos and danger. And then this logistical masterpiece was completed as the groups reunited at the bridge and we all saw the beauty and might of that moment. As I followed them toward the bridge, I wiped away a tear: for 20 yrs. I’ve wondered: “what will the revolution, the Great Renewal, look like?” — and I realized it was lovelier than I’d  ever imagined it could be.

    16. So beautiful. I’m 62, laid off in August, struggling between despair and optimism, so pleased and happy about this movement. It’s brilliant, just enough magic to make it more wonderful, thank you thank you thank you. This was so smart and funny and terrific.

    17. It was icing on the cake. I was deeply moved by this incredible ingenuity.
      Thank you, thank you, thank you for your hard work!

    18. Denise Vega is an excellent example about how anyone can support the OccupyWallStreet movement without sleeping in a tent at an occupation.  High risk but payoff is huge.

      I love her quotes:

                Her parting words were, “let’s do this.”

                “I can’t charge you money, this is for the people,” she said.

      The description of the projection setup made me laugh:

                But then, we held the projected in place with gaffer tape, a broomstick, some baling wire.

      Just goes to show you don’t need boatloads of money to make a difference.

      I feel so empowered when I read stories like this.

    19. “I was so sure it was not against the law” 
      Like that means anything, I’m amazed they weren’t arrested for graffiti, still, kudos to all involved especially to Denise Vega.

    20. 1) clicked http://twitter.com/#!/ReutersTech/status/137543783108718592

      2) opened new window and thought, “whoa, I already closed the 12k lumens projector BB story”

      3) Ooooooooooh *makes more coffee*

    21. Dear Xeni:    In the spirit of accuracy the projections on the  Verizon building require that credit be given not only to the well done entrepreneur-ship of Mr. Read and his fellows but also to Jenny Holzer, to AVONE, to Graffiti Research Lab (GRL), and to Project Xixax -the link I am attaching documents photographs of my Verizon tower projections in June 2005
      I was given entry to the roof top of the projects by a resident at that time. I am also going to discuss this with the Arts and Culture Group at OWS to better determine if Mr. Reed was present, approximately one month ago, when I provided a detailed explanation of the tools and technique for projections as a political tool and why the projections are hyped the way they were in his interview instead of giving either collective credit and taking a backseat to accolades or, giving the originators of projected art as well as the process which included my discussion (not in group but with two people working with the Art and Culture group more than a month ago).      Other than my idealism being offended by the presentation of Mr. Read, a more significant issue for me is that the impression is that an expensive and out of reach tool -such as a ten thousand dollar projector or what Ms. Holzer now uses (upwards of 40,000 lumens,  was required; in fact, I was always interested in making known to people, including graffiti folks and poets the technique and its’ reasonable cost  -I used both a 2500, and then a 3000 lumen projector which projects 30 foot images.     Mr.Read is not only taking credit beyond his achievement by leaving the impression of inventiveness that is not his,  but he also leaves the impression that this is a tool for the privileged few only. It is just a projector, a laptop, an adequate DC inverter (inspected by a qualified electrician who must attach a shut off switch to avoid the risk of the battery exploding). If one does not have a battery, a plug and an outlet will do fine; if one is able to afford a quiet generator the projections can last hours.       It is my belief that the public easement on the private walls provides constitutional protection to the art form and it is within the reach of all, not just the privileged few. I also found the New York Civil Liberties Union helpful in negotiating with the police for use of walls, in the event of any potential problems with the police.      My web page documenting my “extalation” on the Verizon building as well as many cities around the USA and in Europe is here: http://www.projectxixax.com/5_1_05.htm      While many approached me wanting to use it for advertising, to get a job or for crowd adulation, I would like to see the tool more widely used for art, poetry and, social change. Thanks. PROJECT XIXAX.

    22. This is TOTALLY awesome. We just posted about how powerful the Batman symbol was, and how the movement must decide whether it wants a Batman-like leader or whether it will continue like Spartacus: http://literaryman.com/2011/11/18/occupy-the-twenty-first-century-a-rhetorical-examination-of-batman-and-spartacus/

    23. I’d like to see this combined with TXTual Healing. It’s a similar project, but ups the ante on democracy, because people can text their message to be projected. Paul Notzold is the artist.

      Mad props to the family who opened their home to this. Good to see the so many Americans advocating for the 99%

    24. I’m 81 years old and tears welled up in my eyes from the emotion of what this act of courage, love and hope by our progeny says to me and my generation. Bravo!!

    25. Um, I don’t mean to be a bit of a naysayer but this interview was a little soft. You give this guy a pass on some interesting statements.

      Now, before you all paint me as someone who hates this movement, let me say that I think what this guy did was pretty cool and I think the march on the bridge was a beautiful piece of peaceful protest. I am also thankful to the OWS movement for bringing attention to change that is needed in this country. While I think the movement has some big misgivings, I am overall happy for its existence.  

      But things are getting a bit starry-eyed. This guy says things like, “Initial talks focused on having a thousand people taking the bridge in the afternoon, and continuing in a militant mode of activism,” and then starts romantically referencing Zapatistas, and you DON’T ask him to explain that a bit further?? Instead you ask him, “how old are you?” and “how did  you project that?” Softball…

      I’m not suggesting that this guy is advocating violent uprising, but when he says stuff like that, don’t you think, as a journalist, you are supposed to ask him about what he means when he references militant actions and guerilla revolutionaries?

      The thing is, some of the “99 percent” are straying from the real 99 percent, who are the working-class americans, the middle class, etc. We don’t want to Zapatista-style, violent revolution. And we don’t think we have to. America may have its share of problems, but Libya, we are not. And if people start talking about Che Guevara, they are really going to start losing people.

      I am grateful for things like the link Cowidice provided: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/17/1037459/-Corporations-are-NOT-People:-Support-my-Constitutional-Amendment-to-Repeal-Citizens-United

      That’s a real, practical answer to the problems we have. 

      Revolution? Let’s all re-read the lyrics to John Lennon’s song Revolution and think about what they mean. http://www.lyrics007.com/The%20Beatles%20Lyrics/Revolution%20Lyrics.html

    26. Hi! I’m Alex and I support the movement. The projector is a great idea to get the message across from a different angle. I’d like to make a suggestion if that’s okay. Instead of just making a cool ‘bat signal’ with cool slogans on it, you should project messages about what it is we are fighting for.
      I’ve become so disappointed lately because I feel like so many people out there have no idea what our message is. And they all just go by what news stations and newspapers say. Or they hear it from other people who don’t exactly know either. Did you ever play the game Telephone when you were young. This is like a game of telephone and there are people mixing up the message and passing it along. They know we’re the 99%. But they think we’re jobless hippies who are out there protesting because we lost our jobs, and instead of looking for work we’re just destroying public property and putting city officials lives in danger with our hands out looking for a free hand out. I also hear that we’re all a bunch of college kids protesting because we don’t want to pay our student loans, and we’re mad because we went to school and now we just expect the success part to just be handed to us on a silver platter.

      That is all. Thank you.

      1. In addition, this idea can be taken to a higher creative level as well.   Buildings can have informative statistics / charts projected onto them.   A Giant dollar bill image can be projected onto legislative buildings, for those police precincts that fail to serve and protect, the scarlet word “Shame” could be projected onto their precinct buildings.    Word and image, together.  Lots of possibilities here.

    27. I was on the bridge last night, holding my LED candle. And to turn and see that projection, the “bat-signal”, was seriously the best, most uplifting thing ever. You heard cheers go up as group after group got to the point on the bridge where you could see it, and section after section experienced the wonder of it, and the pride of being part of something so much bigger than the individual. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Denise. Thank you, everybody that made this happen. 

    28. Thank you! Thank you! Brought tears to my eyes. This is what it’s all about. Let’s share this article widely!

    29. I also am speechless! Instead of fighting with police and getting beaten up on the street, more of this type of effort could go a long way to getting the message across!

    30. This is truly heartwarming. Thank you.

      …about the “…not even mentioned on Morning Joe.” I wonder if people would be open to something like #occupyTV where masses of people terminate their TV service.  Keep the Internet so we can get our news from places like this but do away with TV so we can send a message to the networks.  

      I did away with mine because I got sick of the media.  There was nothing but fear mongering and lies.   I still watch programs like House through Hulu or Movies through RedBox or Amazon downloads.  The Cable company has offered me a free year but I’m not going back to TV.

      I get more information through the web about what is going on than I ever did through TV. We have been fighting the Internet censorship bill and we will continue to fight it. Congress has no idea how determined my kid and his friends are to keep that freedom. The more times they re-word it, the clearer it will become to the kids how sneaky and untrustworthy our elected officials are. These kids will go out into the world knowing the power of rallying together.

    31. This is beautiful.  

      I remember visiting NY just over Thanksgiving, just months after 9/11, when the city still had the stench of burning.  A billboard in a Latino neighborhood read (in a twist on the “United We Stand” slogan), “Unidos Mas Que Nunca,” and I was SO ANGRY.  I was angry because the hypocrisy of this slogan is so blatant.  While the ruling class (at that time, under Bush) wanted us to “unite” for an illegal war on “terror” against people who had NOTHING TO DO with the 9/11 attacks, they were also running anti-immigrant propaganda, and deporting brown people every day.

      It is NOW that we are uniting “mas que nunca” (more than ever), not as tools of the ruling class for their Right-Wing agenda, but FOR OURSELVES against all the agents of the ruling class.  This PEOPLE’s propaganda tool (instead of the ruling class’s propaganda tools) puts the difference in such brilliant, high-res contrast.  

      Thank you for this. 

    32. Does anyone agree that we need to make our message more clear? Put a stop to corporate influence on governmant.

        1. It is a great letter. But it doesn’t say what needs to be done.

          “All the” 99%” wants is for you to remember the role that Wall Street played in creating this mess, and for you to join us in demanding that Wall Street share the pain. They don’t want to share the pain, and they’re spending a lot of money and twisting a lot of arms to foist their share of the pain on the rest of us instead. And they’ve been given unprecedented powers to spend and twist, and they’re not even trying to hide what they’re doing. All we want is for everybody to remember what happened, and to see what is happening still. And we want you to see that the only way they can get away without paying their share is to undermine the American Dream for the rest of us. And I want you and I to understand each other, and to stand together to prevent them from doing that. You seem like the kind of guy who would be a strong ally, and I’d be proud to stand with you.”

          Sooooo… does that mean the 99% just wants an apology? “Sorry we screwed up your lives, we’ll try not to do it again.” Or does the 99% deserve some kind of “handout”? Or does it mean that the 99% just deserves higher wages? If it’s the higher wages, where does the extra money come from?

          This whole time I have been under the impression that OWS was trying to end the FED… trying to take the influence of money out of politics. Am I wrong?

          1. The OWS movement isn’t about any one specific demand. It’s about spreading the idea that an unjust economy based solely on profit and greed is unsustainable, and unacceptable, and harmful to a lot of people. We’re spreading a meme, so to speak. Everyone who this meme spreads to will respond to it differently. 

            So instead of focusing on any one strategy, this movement is about spreading the idea, and encouraging everyone to get behind whatever strategy that suits them best. That might be working to end the fed, or it might be trying to legislate and end to Wall St. bonuses, or it might be starting a soup kitchen. 

            The specific strategies are not the point. The point is to empower the 99% to take action together, and the bat-signal project described here is a perfect example of how the 99% gets things done together. Our collective action can make anything happen when we come up with great ideas and just help each other. All it takes is one person with a good idea, and the will to ask for help. That is the essence of a “leaderless” movement. We are all leaders, and we empower each other to make amazing things happen by working together.

    33. Democracy Now! spoke with two other participants the projection action yesterday at the November 17th OWS National Day of Action.  You can watch the interview with them here: http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/18/projectionists_light_up_new_york_city

    34.  I was pretty close to the front of the march, and the wave of exhilaration that hit the crowd when the projections began was absolutely incredible.   After so many displays of martial power from Bloomberg and the NYPD, it meant so much to see some heavy-duty technology deployed for the sake of goodwill and hope.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to Mark, Denise, Max, and JR for making this happen. 

    35. I write songs about prevalent issues in the world and produce concerts that give back to world community.
      You Got To Give Back- dedicated to Corporate America –

      A group of elementary school children with the help of their teacher Mr John Olbert produced a video by using a song I composed entitled We Did The Wild Life Boogie. This is a song regarding jobs and the economy.
      Please click Like the kids would like that The Economy Song – We Did The Wild Life Boogie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_6JSQDFv2E.

    36. This interview is one of the best I’ve seen in a long, long while for so many reasons. Thank you for doing it. Thank you to Mark Read and his team for taking this action. Thank you to that mom for sacrificing what could only have been a much needed boon because she cared so much. All gifts to the world. I blogged about the video and the action, then again about this article.

    37. Awesome, so creative and brave!  Thank you. Mark, Will, Denise and Xeni for sharing!

      See you on the barricades!

    38. Thank you for this story. It is so great to see this energy, this love. This is what it is really all about.

    39. The street finds its own uses…

      …I had to just step back and pause for a moment on this fascinating conjunction of high technology, street-wise social activism, and guerrilla-style culture jamming. It all feels so damn cyberpunk it’s making me a bit misty. 

    40. Please someone set up a system so we can make donations to this wonderful family. The need to have the best Christmas ever.

    41. This story points out the true counterpoint between the two sides of the Occupy Wall Street world. Here was a woman, who no doubt could have used the money, deciding that she an obligation to do this “for the people.” A person with very little, willing to do as much as possible for others. Juxtapose this against those who have everything, and do as little as they can for others. 

      Thank you, Xeni. Powerful stuff.

    42. This gave me such a thrill. I heard about it before I saw the videos. I was glued to the ustreams yesterday and reposting every bit of info I could get on the events in NYC . Mysteriously, all my streams died just as the crowds were making their way to the Brooklyn Bridge and remained offline for 2.5 hours until the bridge occupation was essentially over. I read about the Verizon Bldg messages and was filled with gratitude and renewed energy for the cause. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. BLESS YOU AND THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES. This gesture showed the world our message loud and clear. Set against the estimated 36,000 beautiful people who came out despite the horrific images of police brutality to stand up for our faltering nation, and the peaceful, loving citizens of the world yearning for equality and freedom! WE ARE WINNING! Much love and gratitude to you and all of us. <3 (p.s. I am delighted to find a troll free page as well!)

    43. We should start some kind of movement to help all the residents of Vega’s building…not only to help cover the basics of food and rent, but to ease health care expenses, increase educational opportunities for the younger generation, and job skills training for the adults.  Who knows?  It could catch on and become a movement in itself, spreading to communities across the nation, and extending the spirit of OWS in truly concrete and meaningful way.

    44. Thank you to Mark Read, everyone who helped, Xeni for writing this up, and especially to Denise Vega and her family. Is there any way to help her out as a thank-you?

    45. Brilliant idea. The OWS protesters on Thursday are true heroes. I want to thank them for their courage. Especially to those that were subjected to the police brutality and arrests. My heart goes out to them and may God bless them with the rest of their lives. Thank you Ray Lewis for showing the world that a police officer can be a man of conscience. And a big thank you to the family that allowed the projections from their home. May God bless them too. 

    46. A inspiring sight… therein lies the difference between conservatives and progressives. The former have no imagination and so set themselves on the path of destruction, while the latter are devoted to the construction of beauty even in a wasteland.

    47. This… is… so… hella freak-ass cool.  Huge huge thanks to Mark Read and his team for the projection, to Xeni Jardin for the great reporting of this blessed event, to the single mom who provided a safe place for the projector and who is an absolute hero, to all the folks at all the occupies worldwide, heroes all, and everyone else even remotely responsible for making it all happen…   I will sleep easier tonight knowing my world is filled with people like you. 
      In great gratitude & love for all of you, you rock my world!
      Bodhi Goforth
      Eugene OR 

    48. Inquiring minds want to know: what did you use to supply electricity to a 12,000 watt projector? Given that a wall plug only produces 2,000 watts, powering the thing must have been more interesting than the projector itself

    49. That is totally #BADASS. I can tell you that this was no small feat, by any standards – the fact that it was done with borrowed gear, a borrowed apartment and “on the fly” is just amazing. 

    50. i am in awe and am so grateful to you all for being out there in the streets. maybe there really is hope that real positive change for us ordinary americans can happen after all….

    51. I was there, marching across the bridge. And when we saw these projections we erupted. It was a great feeling to see that, it really felt like the movement is unstoppable. Thanks for publishing this BoingBoing. So much of the main stream press reported on Nov 15th as if it were a traffic report. X number arrested, traffic snarled at this intersection or that interection. Very little mention of WHY we did what we did on Thursday.

      By the way, I really think you should not publish the name of the person who lives in the apartment unless she explicitly said she wants to be known.

    52. This is so fantastic!  Congratulations to all of you who used your talents for good.  As a single, working mom of 2 who gave herself to “the movement” back in the day,  I admire Denise Vega’s contribution–sometimes it’s something we can’t put a price on but is from our heart.    And for the first time in many, many years I feel revitalized at age 70 by the Occupy movement  and more hopeful for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s future.  Save the planet from the predators–save ourselves.   We are the change we’ve been looking for all along.

    53. Inspired! 
      Please could the workers on the project make their modul8 Project for this available for others to use and adapt?
      Brighton, UK

    54. As you read this, the 1,210 billionairres worldwide who own Exxon, Boeing, ATT, Haliburton, Monsanto, Fox News, Novartis, WalMart, Koch Industries, CocaCola, etc yawn and tell their aides to increase their security budgets.   They then dial their lobbyists and paid political hacks to ensure the DOD, Interpol and worldwide Intelligence Agencies get the names of the organizers so they can be rounded up in the middle of the night and taken to  KBR or Bechtel built “re-education camps” where you will be tortured, disappeared or drugged into submission.    This movement may make you feel good, may make you think there is hope for future generations and that fairness and economic opportunity will magically appear just because millions strive for it.   You know in your heart that Occupy is an inconsequential blip on their radar until these global conspirators are publicly tried and convicted of crimes against humanity.  Even then, a small cadres of them will have to mysteriously disappear, or be assassinated and dragged through the streets, their children are kidnapped and held hostage, or  IMF or Bilderberg meetings carpet bombed until economic justice prevails.    Gaddaffi, Assad, Amin, Cheney et al are absolute proof that wealth and tyrannical power never gives itself up willingly.   If you’re not prepared to die dragging the oligarchs screaming from their guarded mansions and yachts, society will not change.   There are lots of military and police itching to put you in a mass grave because you threaten the authority of their masters.    There are ‘futurists’ at DARPA, GE and other firms today inventing technologies that enable an elite global society of several million, served by slaves and robots.   When  confronted by an evil that seeks untold power at the expense of billions of lives, how do you react?    Do you appeal to reason, or do you snuff it out?    Do you think Hitler or Marcos or Mugabe or Pinochet or Pol Pot or Idi Amin could be persuaded with some tea and compassionate conversation?  
      “Property is theft. Nobody ‘owns’ anything. When you die, it all stays here.”
      — George Carlin.   


      A cry from the heart of the world…that’s the one that made me cry happily hopefully!

    56. That’s also how I felt this morning watching the blog video from Seattle, in amazement of what my brother Mark orchestrated!  I am so, so, so , so proud of you Mark!  This work will surely be your legacy and live on in protest legend! With such a positive and optimistic message I expect that you brought people into the fold who were formerly on the sidelines.  I was imagining this “batman projection” thing happening simultaneously  in each of the cities you so cleverly named and I almost wept in front of Anna as I thought about the impact you have had on people’s hearts and minds.  I love you!

    57. I am truly in awe of how remarkable your movement is.  What can I do.  I so much want to be a part of OWS..  I’m 80 years old,  slightly handicapped and willing to go to jail for non violent protest.  How can I participate.  Eileen

    58. Seeing this sent chills up my spine and as much as I wanted to be there, I was stuck at work outside the City, keeping Ustream up on one monitor just so I could be there in spirit. It was a night of questions, tension, of wondering what the future holds for OWS and all of us. But this was a beacon of hope and a boost for everyone on the street those of us watching at a distance. Shared it with one of my students and the image went viral, and I end up hearing back from students I haven’t seen in years.  

      Action is essential; but an image can speak volumes. Thank you! 

    59. Amazing, powerful, transformative. I am changed by this, and by the Dorli Rainey video, and other stories about the 99%. I am part of the 99. I have hope. I will step outside my comfort zone for this cause. I will stand for peace in San Francisco every Saturday morning, 9:00 am, across from City Hall on Polk Street, and I will remember these stories, and I will believe that a peaceful world is possible. This is the beginning of the beginning.

      Thank you for such powerful inspiration!

    60. “This is for the People”  Peace Nobel Prize Obama must hear Denise Vega, a brave woman who supported OccMov with no fear. 

    61. I was so inspired by the events of last Thursday – joining with  that massive crowd in Foley Square and then marching across the bridge with everyone with their tea lights and glow sticks and signs and all of their songs and chants and energy, and  to be among so many cool people and then – halfway across – to turn around and see that wonderful illuminated projection on the side of the Verizon building (of all places!)   
       I participated in the Verizon (“Verigreedy”) protest a few weeks ago and then later that same night got to march and sing and  “Occupy Columbus Circle” with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, David Amram, and Tom Chapin and others and that was also a very magical evening!After last Thursday’s events I was so inspired that I couldn’t fall asleep  so I composed a song that I have already publicly performed 3 times (at “Occupy Newark” and “Occupy Trenton”, and also yesterday on a chartered bus going from Maplewood, NJ to a very lively anti-fracking rally in Trenton!)I was particularly inspired by that one chant:  “We Are Unstoppable,  A Better World Is Possible”

    62.   What is interesting is that the POLICE crowd estimate was 32,000;  the organizers we passed told us there were 45,000 “between the Bklyn bridge and Foley Square”.   The next morning CBS News reported at 5 A.M. that there were 5,000 in the crowd.  At SIX A.M. they gave the crowd size as ONE THOUSAND.  To anyone who was actually there that is completely laughable.

      Some of us were joking around the night before that Bloomberg would probably say there was only a few hundred people present…(on an endlessly revolving tape loop??!) 

      I know it’s commonplace for the lamestream media to under-estimate crowd size, but that is ABSURD!!!

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