NO Projected Above the Pope

Santiago Sierra and Julius von Bismarck

7 June 2012

Santiago Sierra and Julius Von Bismarck project the word NO above the Pope during several of his appearances at World Youth Day in Madrid, 2011

They do so using the image fulgurator, a technique for projecting stealth images synchronised with flashes from other cameras, allowing messages to be “infiltrated” into the photographs and films taken by the media and the faithful.

A number of activities protesting against Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Spain were planned to coincide with World Youth Day in Madrid. One of these, designed by Santiago Sierra and Julius Von Bismarck, consisted in projecting a huge NO during the Pope’s appearances. The projection was generated using the image fulgurator technique created by Bismarck. This technique uses a 35-mm camera with a built-in light sensor, that projects images on flat surfaces as soon as the sensor registers a flash from another camera. The projection can thus be synchronised to the exact moment of exposure of cameras nearby. Here, the technique is used to project the message “NO”, which will appear, inevitably and involuntarily, on the films and photos taken by others.

Santiago Sierra (Madrid, 1966) is a graduate in Fine Arts from Madrid’s Universidad Complutense. From 1995 to 2010 he lived in Mexico, where he did postgraduate training at the San Carlos Art School, Universidad Autónoma de México. His work has been exhibited at numerous museums and international art centres, including the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, MoMA in New York, the Kunstwerke in Berlin and the Venice Biennale.

Julius von Bismarck (Germany, 1983) studied Audiovisual Communications at UdK, the Berlin University of the Arts, and took a Master’s degree in Fine Arts at Hunter College, New York. He has taken part in group shows at various venues, including Mediamatic in Amsterdam, the Geneva Electron Festival and the Institut für Raumexperimente in Berlin.

Organised by: PHotoEspaña
In collaboration with: Off Limits