The Illuminator 2016 Artist in Residence


The Illuminator is a collective political art project based in New York City that was initiated in March of 2012. The project emerged out of the Occupy Wall Street movement, in the wake of the original OWS 99% Bat Signal projection-action of 17 November 2011. Since then, the collective has staged hundreds of interventions in public spaces—both geographical and virtual—as acts of incitement and invitation. The Illuminator transforms the street from a site of transit to a space of engagement, conflict, and dialogue. It creates images that circulate over the Internet as vivid talismans of trespass within the over-saturated and suffocating visual culture of commodity capitalism, provoking much needed dialogue concerning the issues of our time. By adopting a superhero persona, the collective strives to communicate in a pop culture vernacular so that all may understand its mission. The Illuminator calls for heroism—for an insurgent broad based popular movement to challenge entrenched power and initiate the radical political, social, and economic transformations that the urgency of this moment demands.

Research Questions / Lines of Inquiry during Hemi Residency:
• As politically engaged artists, we ask ourselves whether or not our instrumentalization is inevitable. In addition to being implicated in this destructive process, how can we constructively and consciously participate in the resistance to displacement?

• When working collectively as a unit and collaboratively with partner groups, how de we consider and manage the layers of accountability?

Watch The Illuminator's Curated Conversation: "The Politics of Art and Displacement: A Conversation Curated by the Illuminator"

Watch The Illuminator's Artist Talk: "The Illuminator Shines a Light on the Crises of Educational Debt and Displacement" (2016)