the illuminator

The Illuminator is a collaborative political art project which was created in the context of Occupy Wall Street. Conceptually we are a counter-spectacle tactical media machine, materially we are a group with a van and a huge projector.

One of my roles in the group is to develop open source tools for us and anyone interested in doing similar things. While we upgrade our official webpage to include a large TOOLS section, I’m maintaining a separate version here.


Jump to tools | Jump to photos

The People’s Pad

[download on github]

This allows you to rig up a quick webcam pointed down at white paper, then using a thick marker your hand and drawing will take over a surface. It’s projection-mapping ready, see instructions in-app.

Quick look:

Protest Generator


The Protest Generator was initially created for our intervention in Montreal in 2014. The government had outlawed protests of more than 50 people, so we decided to project hundreds of virtual protesters into the streets.

This tool consists of an After Effects project, a green screen video of someone holding a sign, and a photoshop file of a different protest sign. You can film your own green screen videos and swap them out for ours, and even create your own signs, which will then be held by marchers!


Basic Mapper

[ download on github ]

The Basic Mapper is an open source, free alternative to MadMapper. Note that this allows for just one single source and is limited compared to MadMapper (which we know and love).

Photo/Video documentation

The best place for more info on The Illuminator is our facebook page where you will find media, contacts, and more.

130501 Free Cooper Union-4

130819 Vocal NY-3

131119 5 Pointz-5

131203 Jeremy Hammond-9

140617 Dream Act-1

140623 Montreal-5

140820 Ferguson-2

140913 Flood Wall Street-4

141122 REFEST-4

141210 Black Lives Matter-1

150102 Adbusters-2

150222 United Steelworkers-2




This short directed by Alex Mallis shows the maiden voyage of our bicycle projector, the Green Lumen

Done in collaboration with Stop Stop and Frisk in the Bronx

Done in collaboration with The Guerrilla Girls

Linked above, this video details our response to the P-6 anti-protest laws in Quebec