9. Illuminate Cities Project Collective

Illuminate Cities Project Collective installation on COVID-19 on the BoweryPhoto by Alex Contell

The Illuminate Project Collective, a collective of New York City-based planners and architects, has just installed a digital light installation in the windows of 250 Bowery (The Canvas on Bowery) that explores the pandemic impact on New York City. The work of art depicts the five boroughs through data visualizations that dramatically show communities that were hardest hit by COVID-19. According to the artists, “the installation we developed operates as a vessel for public data about New York City and currently explores  discrepancies in the way the pandemic affected various communities.

Specifically, the installation “uses light intensity and color saturation to form a sequence of data maps, first illustrating the neighborhoods most affected by COVID-19 in terms of infection and death rates, then juxtaposing them with the racial and economic demographics of the same areas. The sequential overlay suggests and exposes structural inequities. It aims to prompt viewers to question, what causes these disparities across our city? What can we do to counter them? Which communities are most in need of our support?” As COIVD-19 vaccination data becomes available, mirroring the inequities seen since the beginning of the pandemic, these visualizations that make data accessible and understandable to the public are more important than ever.