Light Artists Utilize Video Projection for Peace

Light Artists Utilize Video Projection for Peace
  • On a cold Friday night in mid-January, digital projection artists Peter Rogina and Eileen Cohen presented their most recent work entitled, “Shuffled Light” at the Opening Ceremony Press Event for NYC Light 2015 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This event ushered in a year-long celebration of light in the city. New York is one of several cities worldwide that are following the lead of the United Nations, which proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.

The video animations, artfully executed by Cohen, create moving and interacting layers of the light images, many of which have starkly beautiful and vivid colors dancing in layers.

Photo Credit: Peter Rogina

For Rogina, a New Jersey resident, and Cohen, who lives in New York City, this showing was one of 12 installations in the last year and the pair have now video projected in four of the five NYC boroughs and on landmarks including the Cotton Club in Harlem, a summer installation at the Holocenter on Governors Island, The TEDxCUNY conference, and the NYC Opening Ceremony for Peace December.

Their work was also displayed for the Peace December Music Peace Marathon, which was streamed live from the Bronxnet Studios to dozens of participating countries as part of the United Nations Month of Peace (also proclaimed for NYC by former Mayor Bloomberg in 2010).

The team used Panasonic PTD5700U projectors for all of the outdoor installations. Video Corporation of America in Somerset, NJ, donated the projector for each public art installation.

Rogina said, “The video projectors have been great, bright (6,000+ lumens) and crisp at every single event. We’ve had a lot of comments each night on how good the projection has looked.” The team has luckily avoided any rain during their installations, but in January the temperature outside was 16 degrees with wind chills around zero. Rogina and Cohen tag-teamed going in and out of the event. “We were using both ends of the projector – the front to project and the heat from the lamp exhaust to keep our hands warm. It was cold, but fun."

Rogina and Cohen are enjoying quiet acclaim for their projections which, as described by Rogina, “started with an idea to creatively light the dark spaces in between holograms in a gallery setting.” Rogina’s light photos are stunning projections and have been used as anchor pieces for large events such as the Closing Extravaganza for the Center for the Holographic Arts and the summer-long “Parallax” installation series on Governors Island. His photography has also been featured in “IN New York Magazine”, the popular online photo-blog PetaPixel, and in numerous Global Online Art Exhibits where he’s had galleries on both Transmitted and Reflected light.

The video animations, artfully executed by Cohen, create moving and interacting layers of the light images, many of which have starkly beautiful and vivid colors dancing in layers. The pieces all start as either light photos or videos shot by Rogina and are then taken by Cohen into Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and After Effects for image preparation, animation, layering, and “joining” together. Original images are of varying resolutions, often up to 21 Megapixels, which allows for a great deal of flexibility. All images are captured with a Canon 5D Mark II camera using mostly a 24-105mm professional lens. All video is shot in 1080p and the final pieces are rendered at 1080p, 720p, and VGA. “We’d love to project some of these pieces at 4K and have enough resolution to do so, but to date, we haven’t had access to the projection technology needed,” said Rogina.

Peace Lights
Based on an abundance of positive feedback following a projection at the NY Peace Coalition Awards dinner in February 2014, discussions started about adapting one of Rogina and Cohen’s pieces, entitled, “Drapes” to become the organization’s international symbol of Peace and Non-violence. The artists went to work and “Peace Lights” emerged and was quickly adopted by the NY Peace Coalition and the Peace organizations of 14 additional countries. Discussions have begun with the United Nations and several other organizations worldwide. Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, Chairman of the NY Peace Coalition says, “The time is right for a light-based symbol for Peace and Non-violence. We are hopeful that wide adoption of Peace Lights will serve to raise awareness and in turn affect local and global behaviors, attitudes, and actions towards the efforts of Peace. This is the UN International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies and December is Peace Month. There is a strong synergy that will, hopefully, raise awareness and propagate actions for Peace.”

Rogina and Cohen seem to be well aligned with United Nations initiatives. The second time they were invited to project onto the Cotton Club coincided with the UN International Day of Water. The event was the “Under the Viaduct” Light Intervention Series sponsored by the West Harlem Art Fund. “We wanted to add something aquatic to the mix, so we set up and shot a series of 3D images of colorful ink drops into water with the intent of layering the pure transmitted light into those moving images," Rogina said. "Those ink drops are the only reflected light that has shown up in any of our pieces to date. And we have not digitally manipulated any color in those images either."

When asked what the future holds for them, Cohen replied, “The beautiful thing is that there are a lot of ways we can go creatively. We’ve barely scratched the surface as far as images go and that data set is always growing.”

Rogina added, “We’re looking forward to supporting the rollout of 'Peace Lights' and are actively trying to address the challenge of not having enough projectors. We’ll also be participating in some of the NYC Light 2015 events, for sure, and are working to develop projection ideas and proposals for the Midnight Moment in Times Square and for Fremont Street in Las Vegas."

The team also expects to expand their video projection shows to music events and festivals. They are also pursuing video projections in 3D and using 4K Ultra High Definition resolutions.

Rogina and Cohen’s work can be seen on their website at:

As part of the international effort to raise awareness for the causes of Peace and Non-violence, a program called “Projectors for Peace” has been set up to accept donated video projection equipment for use by the NY Peace Coalition and its related organizations. The NY Peace Coalition is a designated 501(c)(3) and will provide receipts upon request.

If you have any old, used but working video projectors, please send them to:Projectors for Peace
c/o NYPC
2006 Westchester Avenue
Bronx, NY 10462

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