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The Illuminator calls the Guggenheim Museum a “1% Museum.” Another projected messages: “Art is not a Luxury.” 

The spirit of Occupy Wall Street lives on as The Illuminator political art project roams New York City projecting guerrilla protest messages onto buildings. Using a plain white van equipped with audio and visual projection, as well as an info-shop and mini library, the group of eight artists display a Bat-signal spotlight with a location-specific message. In March, the above message was among those displayed on the 88th Street Guggenheim Museum as a protest to the Guggenheim Foundation’s treatment of migrant workers in Abu Dhabi, where their newest museum is currently being built.

daily what-the illuminator affinity group-occupy wall street-light installation-protest-nyc-untapped cities-012

Grayson Earle, one of the artists behind the installations calls the initiative an “ethical imperative,” saying “The City needs us. We have to be there.” The group has been active since the Occupy group got disbanded from Zucotti Park, first shining the 99% logo on the Verizon Building, also the world’s largest high-rise data center. One of their very first investors was Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, helping to fund the startup costs of building what they call their “Batmobile,” the versatile and mobile van that beams their messages. Since then, they have been joining protests on a “for-hire” basis as long as they support the cause. Here we have some of their images from the 5 Pointz vigil as well as a recent NYPL protest against plans to remove the stacks:

daily what-the illuminator affinity group-occupy wall street-light installation-protest-nyc-untapped cities-015“And somehow we are called vandals” at the 5 Pointz vigil after its whitewashing.

daily what-the illuminator affinity group-occupy wall street-light installation-protest-nyc-untapped cities-016“Save our stacks!” displayed at the 42nd Street NYPL where we met Patience and Fortitude. The Illuminator protested the proposed closure of the iconic library. 

The Illuminator Affinity Group has an entire Tip Sheet on their Tumblr explaining the ins and outs of creating this type of light installation. Earle told WNYC that they don’t have many problems with authorities since technically projecting these images onto buildings is not illegal. However, there are several technicalities that can get them in trouble, such as parking illegally or noise. Besides that, their site makes it seem pretty easy–and safe–to get your message out to a vast audience they way they have.

For more interesting and quirky initiatives check our our Daily What?! column. If only Norman Mailer had a giant projector to help make NYC into the 51st state

Get in touch with the author @uptownvoice.

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