Last night New York's support for Boston was evident on a side of a building. Words of support and love for the usually rival city were projected out of a van onto the side of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The image spread with messages of solidarity on Twitter and Instagram.
So how did those projections come to be? We talked to Lucky Tran, a 29-year-old member of the Occupy Wall Street-born collective, The Illuminator, which was responsible, along with the OWS Light Brigade for the display of love. The Illuminator is probably best known for their Bat Symbol-esque 99 percent sign projected on the side of the Verizon Building.
The Illuminator was scheduled to put on another show Monday: a "tax evaders" video game for Tax Day, but when news of the tragedy broke, and remembered the feeling in the city following 9/11, they changed their plans. "We remembered how there was this unified moment of 9/11 that quickly became a culture of fear and a culture of war," Tran said. Not only was upped security in New York going to make it difficult for the group to get to the corporate buildings they wanted to use for their projections, but Tran said the collective decided the message should be changed into something that people could "unite around."
In about two hours the project came together. It was moved to BAM—their van is housed in Brooklyn—and messages, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote about darkness and "Brooklyn Loves Boston," were chosen. They also decided to evoke the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry: "To take those symbols of rivalry and unite them and show that we are here in unity," Tran said. (The projections, he explained, are simply JPEGs made with Adobe Illustrator.)
So they wanted to capture that unified spirit, without any potentially divisive messages. What they found, Tran said, was that not only did their projections (and the Light Brigade's LED signs) bring people together on, say, Twitter, people also began to physically congregate around BAM, where they talked about how they were feeling and their friends in Boston. "It was a really beautiful moment," Tran said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.