Fleetness and Light: Projecting on Washington
Crow at the establishmentarianism of Official Washington, with its chunky buildings and drab marble; turn up your nose at the federal government’s sprawling dominion over District acreage; whimper over its dull regality, all honor and remembrance and boring, boring history. But don’t deny this: Downtown Washington is brimming with big, flat space.
Maybe that’s why projections—as in light shot from a lens, not the kind that turn up during election season—seem to work so well here. Washington makes for an awfully huge projection screen.
That hasn’t escaped Occupy D.C. protesters, who brought “projection bombing” to town in 2011; nor performance artist Adrian Parsons, who beamed David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” on the National Portrait Gallery in protest of the museum’s removal of the work in 2010; nor projection artist Jenny Holzer, who showed her projection-proclamations at the Kennedy Center and the Logan Circle gallery district in 2007 and 2004, respectively.
Now Washington has another projection to get excited about: Tuesday evening, as part of the opening of its Nordic Cool festival, the Kennedy Center premiered a new projection at its home near the Potomac River: “Northern Lights.” Every night from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. till the festival ends on March 17, Danish lighting designer Jesper Kongshaug will beam his interpretation of Aurora Borealis onto all four sides of the art center’s building.
Projections, when they’re deployed in protest, are called nondestructive graffiti; in art, they represent a medium. Used commercially, though, they foretell a new kind of invasive pop-up advertising, a rudimentary two-dimensional version of holograms dreamed up by science fiction writers and creepily executed, most famously, at Coachella 2012. Tupac hologram, may you rest in peace.
See the print version of this post below.