Boston #StandsWithImmigrants 

Project Description and Background: This body of work will consist of 10-20 abstracted scenes of Boston’s urban landscape blended with larger-than-life projections of the immigrants whose contributions are woven into the fabric of our great city.

This project grows out the frustration, fear, confusion and shame generated by the recent immigration travel bans – policies that are antithetical to the founding ideals our country, and threaten one of our greatest assets: the flow of immigrants and refugees who enrich our nation with their ideas, dreams, drive, and culture.  

The city of Boston stands to lose more than most if these policies continue.  We are viewed around the world as a thought leader – a region at the cutting edge of entrepreneurship, technology, science, academics and medicine. Much of the pioneering work that happens here relies on the unique contributions of foreign-born residents.  The city of Boston as well as many local institutions have publically condemned this Administration’s policies and the dangerous ideology they signal. But words alone quickly fade into the background. 

This project seeks to transform opposition into art - to emblazon our city with the portraits of immigrants, highlight their contributions and show the world that this city stands with them in solidarity. I believe the portraits are a beautiful and dignified response to a policy of fear and exclusion. I believe the statement they make will encourage conversation, reassure the world of our humanity, raise public consciousness, and move the needle at a policy level. 

Proof-of-Concept (above) – Actual projection of Korean-American farmer Jennifer Hyoje-Ryu Kenty on a barn in Concord, Mass.

Proof-of-Concept (above) – Actual projection of Korean-American farmer Jennifer Hyoje-Ryu Kenty on a barn in Concord, Mass.

Linear Description of Work:

Phase 1) Identify subjects – We will work with partner organizations to identify candidates for the projections.  Strong candidates will be legal residents and will embody one (or more) of the following:

  • Compelling personal narrative - (e.g. The Abdos, a Syrian family who fled Aleppo in 2013, after living for more than two weeks in the rubble of their bombed house, surviving on bread alone.)
  • Thought leader - Be making a significant contribution to the region in the field of academics, technology, entrepreneurship, medicine or life sciences.  (e.g. Iranian-born geneticist Pardis Sabeti doing pioneering cancer research at the Broad Institute)
  • Material contributor - Be a low-wage worker employed in immigrant-dominated industries (agriculture, construction, manufacturing etc.)

Phase 2) Photograph subjects – We will shoot portraits of each immigrant on-location at a place that is most convenient for the subject. The subjects will be evenly lit and photographed on a black background.  A sitting will take approximately 30 minutes of the subject’s time.  The goal of the portrait session is to make a compelling picture that portrays each person in a personal, dignified and humanizing way.

Phase 3) Project the images and document – Projection locations will be chosen for the the most relevant and compelling sites for display. During the dusk to dawn hours we will project the immigrant portraits onto buildings, trees, bridges, barns, trains, etc. using a high-tech Christie Roadster 14K projector.  We will then photograph the projections in their environment to produce the end product: a photograph depicting an abstracted view of Boston’s urban landscape blended with the faces of immigrants.  

Material elements:

Based on field tests, we have chosen the Christie Roadster 14K projector for this project. It is the brightest projector that will run using power from a standard 120-volt wall outlet, which gives us the most flexibility when choosing a projection location with enough brightness to overpower the ambient light of the city in most locations.

We do not strive to produce clear, photo-realistic projections of the immigrants.  Rather, we want to give a more abstracted view in which their faces become part of the environment they’re projected onto.  Therefore, the projection can work on almost any surface, but ideal sites will be chosen based on:

  • The added context they can lend to the immigrant’s individual story (i.e. migrant farmer projected onto a barn or a scientist projected onto buildings in Kendall Square)
  • Their aesthetic value (i.e. is the location beautiful? Compelling? Iconically Boston?)
  • Accessibility and logistics.  Locations must have a nearby power source to run the projector.  Otherwise, locations need to be reachable by foot/car while transporting a supplemental power source (generator), projector, and camera equipment.

Present State of the Work & Collaborators:

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate (EMK) has agreed to host the project.  A number of immigrant and refugee subjects have been identified and two have been photographed.  We have technical support for the projections through a partnership with Ice9 Productions and have produced a successful proof-of-concept (see sample below).  Chris Antonowich of Antonowich Consulting Collaborative has been enlisted to help identify subjects, collaborators and sources of financial support. Emmy-Award winning production company Anthem Multimedia will headline the visuals and art direction for this project.

In order to move this project forward we are currently seeking:

  • Local businesses, organizations and immigrant/refugee agencies to help identify subjects
  • Official support from the cities of Boston and Cambridge to help with projection logistics
  • Financial support to secure projector technology 

Cost

The overall cost of the entire project will be in the ballpark of $100,000.  Assuming 20 subjects/projections, the cost is $5,000 per subject.  

  • Christie Roadster 14K projector  $42k purchase price or $9k/week to rent*
  • Photographer Fee $1,000/portrait shoot**
  • Project Management $1,000/projection location***
  • Project Website $20,000

*Owning the technology is preferable. Projection partner Ice9 has limited availability over the summer to support rentals.  Ownership will ensure the strongest body of work by giving us unlimited opportunity for creative experimentation. Owning the projector will also maximize options for a future long-term installation and minimize investment cost over the long run.

**Cost includes all pre-production (subject identification, interviews, location scouting) and production-related expenses (travel, equipment, photography services and post production editing/toning, copy writing).

***Cost includes all location scouting, logistics and projection support.

Financing

We are pursuing the following support, in any combination, to achieve our goal of raising $100,000

  • Corporate sponsorship – An organization or corporation can donate $5000 and elect an employee for inclusion in the project.  We will exercise editorial discretion to ensure subjects meet the criteria set forth above.
  • Private Donations – Private philanthropists and donors who want to support the mission of the work.
  • Grant Funding – Help from the city of Boston or other arts organizations to identify grant funding possibilities.
  • Crowd sourcing – Smaller donations through crowd funding platforms such as GoFundMe, KickStarter or IndieGoGo.

Limitations Addressed:

Given the current sensitivity around being an immigrant in this country, finding subjects who are willing to take part in a public display may prove challenging.  We acknowledge and respect that people may not want to take part, and we will take extra effort to assure all participants are comfortable with their involvement.

Given the timeliness of the subject matter, time is of the essence.  Photography can begin without a firm picture of the financing, but the projection technology cannot be sourced without necessary funding.  We will need every effort to fast-track projection sites and fund the projection technology in order to create a successful project with great impact.  

Future Considerations

Currently the end product of this phase of the project is 10-20 images of our projections for display in gallery format (at EMK), online, and in social media.  But the visual power of a 30-foot face projected onto our cityscape is an arresting installation in and of itself.  I believe there is great potential for broader impact with a long-term installation at various locations in the city.  Events such as HubWeek or the Greenway Wall at Dewey Square Park would be ideal venues for such an installation.

Capabilities:

To see samples of our work and a roster of clients please visit our website: www.anthemmultimedia.com

For Further Information Please Contact:

  • Erik Jacobs | Anthem Multimedia | 617-852-4109 | erik@anthemmultimedia.com                         
  • Chris Antonowich | Antonowich Consulting Collaborative | 617-543-7444 | chrisantonowich@gmail.com
Mock-up – Conceptual image of what future pictures might look like.

Mock-up – Conceptual image of what future pictures might look like.

Mock-up – Conceptual image of what future pictures might look like.

Mock-up – Conceptual image of what future pictures might look like.