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Projecting the Plight of Endangered Species onto the Empire State Building

by Joel Sartore, NY Times
by Joel Sartore, NY Times

If only News Cult could work on a collaborative project that puts our logo onto the Empire State Building, we’d rule the world. On Saturday endangered species from around the world will take the spotlight, as their images, such as the snow leopard above, will be projected digitally onto the building in an art event meant to draw attention to the creatures’ plight and possibly provide footage for a coming documentary. And let’s admit it–these animals need worldwide attention the most.

Travis Threlkel and his collaborator, the filmmaker and photographer Louie Psihoyos, director of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” according to the NY Times, describe their event as a “weapon of mass instruction.” But Mr. Threlkel also explained: “We’re going to try to create something beautiful. Not bum people out.” He added later: “Hopefully, this is one big domino. If we can tip it, it would be great.”

On Saturday from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., the collaborators will use 40 stacked, 20,000-lumen projectors on the roof of a building on West 31st Street with a looping reel showing what Mr. Psihoyos calls a “Noah’s ark” of animals.They will project a snow leopard, a golden lion tamarin and manta rays, plus snakes, birds and various mammals and sea creatures onto a space 375 feet tall and 186 feet wide covering 33 floors of the southern face of the Empire State Building. No doubt this will be one of the more constructive Twitter trends we’ve had as a nation.

The Times reported that four years ago, Mr. Psihoyos’s Oceanic Preservation Society hired Mr. Threlkel’s San Francisco company, Obscura Digital, to put on elaborate light shows to help draw attention to the alarming rate at which species are dying out in what Mr. Psihoyos contends is Earth’s sixth mass extinction. The men began discussing “the most dramatic thing we could do to get the world to know about what we’re losing,” Mr. Psihoyos said. They wanted to use the photography of Mr. Psihoyos’s colleagues at National Geographic, incorporate a musical element and project the images on a newsworthy facade.

The project is finally happening at the end of a week when wild animals have been in the news, such as endangered elephants, whose plight was emphasized in a speech President Obama gave in Kenya announcing restrictions on the sale of African elephant ivory, and Cecil the lion, a tagged animal lured from a wildlife preserve in Zimbabwe, shot by an American hunter with a crossbow, then tracked and ultimately killed. WTF.

Obviously the world needs to do much, much more to save our endangered species, and this project on Saturday night will be a strong reminder: we have a serious problem. Share the word with your friends and fellow animal advocates so that they don’t miss out

[via NY Times]

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