Boston #StandsWithImmigrants 

Project Description and Background: 

This body of work is born out of the recent immigration travel bans and rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment.  The project will consist of 12-20 abstracted scenes of Boston’s urban landscape blended with towering projections of local immigrants and refugees.  

Boston is viewed around the world as a thought leader – a region at the cutting edge of entrepreneurship, technology, science, academics and medicine. Much of the work that happens here, from the pioneering to the every-day, relies on the unique contributions of foreign-born residents.  Many voices have publicly condemned the White House's nationalist agenda. But words alone quickly fade into the background. 

This project seeks to transform opposition into art - to emblazon our city with the faces of immigrants, highlight their contributions and show the world that we stand with them in solidarity. I believe the portraits are a beautiful and dignified response to an intensifying climate 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. 

Semyon Dukach | Russia Angel Investor with OneWay Ventures

Semyon Dukach | Russia Angel Investor with OneWay Ventures

Linear Description of Work:

Phase 1) Identify subjects – We are working 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 one hour 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.  

Jennis Perez | Cuba Cleaner - Projected on the Old State House

Jennis Perez | Cuba Cleaner - Projected on the Old State House

Present State of the Work:

The project will debut at Boston's "We are Boston" Gala in November 2017. Mayor Martin Walsh (a subject of the project and second generation immigrant) will host the exhibit in the Mayor's Gallery at Boston City Hall in 2018 and The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate (EMK) will also feature the project as a part of it's regular ongoing exhibits, beginning in spring 2018. 

Subject's we've photographed but still need to be projected are:

  • David Ortiz Retired Red Sox DH | Dominican Republic
  • YoYo Ma | Musician | France
  • Thaer Abdallah Artist | Iraq
  • Dr. Pardis Sabeti | Computational Biologist, Harvard University / Broad Institute | Iran
  • Mohamad Ali | CEO, Carbonite | Guyana
  • David Leonard | President, Boston Public Library | Ireland
  • Martin J. Walsh | Boston Mayor | Second generation immigrant | Ireland

Subject we are currently seeking to round out the project:

  • Doctor
  • Construction Worker/Manufacturer
  • Chef
  • Member of US Armed Services
  • Religious Leader
  • Syrian Refugee

We have technical support for the projections through a partnership with Christie Digital and have produced five successful proofs-of-concept (seen here).  Chris Antonowich of Antonowich Consulting Collaborative is our project manager and will 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.

Present Needs:

  • Local businesses, individuals, organizations and immigrant/refugee agencies to help identifying subjects
  • Financial support to secure projector technology 
Haseeb Hosein | Trinidad Captain, Boston Police Department - Projected on the Lee School in the B-3 Police District where he works.

Haseeb Hosein | Trinidad Captain, Boston Police Department - Projected on the Lee School in the B-3 Police District where he works.

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.

Cost

The cost of the entire production is approximately $165,000. A detailed budget is available upon request. 

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 can 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.  

Jennifer Hyoje-Ryu Kenty | South Korea Farmer - Projected on a barn in Concord, MA

Jennifer Hyoje-Ryu Kenty | South Korea Farmer - Projected on a barn in Concord, MA

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 We Are Boston Gala, EMK, The Mayor's Gallery), 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
Eva Millona | AlbaniaExecutive Director, Mass. Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

Eva Millona | AlbaniaExecutive Director, Mass. Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition