Between LED screens, shop windows, and the tip of the Empire State Building, New York City does not exactly lack nighttime illumination. However, through “video mapping” technology, lights are now animating the city streets in new ways. Though I haven’t witnessed any of these projections in New York, I’ve come across them in various other cities. Once, in Paris, during a night when the city’s museums stayed open until midnight: images bringing us deep into a jungle were projected on the museum’s façade, while costumed performers on stilts twirled through the crowd. Another time in Brussels, during the city’s Christmas celebration, where bouncing cartoonish images stood in stark contrast to the elegant baroque building on which they were projected.
As the article mentions, such a medium is now being used for a variety of purposes, such as guerilla or activist art, commercial displays, or city-sponsored public spectacles. No matter the reason, it is an exciting way to animate the streets. And while bouncing cartoon balls may not exactly be high art, they still achieve a similar effect: causing passersby to simply stop and watch, capturing their attention and their imagination.