“I’m a scale person—that’s what Louie likes about me,” Travis Threlkel, chief creative cffice and co-founder of Obscura Digital, told the New York Times. “It’s like the Guggenheim. That’s big, right? No, man. We did that from the back of a car with one projector on it. This one, I’ve got 40 giant cannons. And I wish I had more.”
On Saturday, using 40 stacked, 20-000 lumen projectors sitting atop a building on West 31st Street, the southern face of the Empire State Building will light up the night with digital images of endangered species in an effort to call attention to some of the planet’s most at-risk wildlife.
Threlkel, alongside filmmaker and photographer Louie Psihoyos, is the architect behind this “weapon of mass instruction,” which will illume a space 375 feet tall and 186 feet wide, a total of 33 floors, with moving pictures of ” a snow leopard, a golden lion tamarin and manta rays,” along with a variety of creatures land and sea, the New York Times reports.
Psihoyos and Threlkel received clearance from the city just four weeks ago. In the last three years, the pairing has put on dozens of smaller projections, including one on the Guggenheim Museum. Their biggest display so far was last year on The United Nations building.
Don’t have a ticket to Saturday’s 27th Street rooftop viewing party? Don’t fret. Images should be clear within 20 blocks downtown of the Empire State Building. Beyond 14th Street, the grey, furry face of a giant koala bear shouldn’t be hard to miss. And beyond New York City, the events are also to be a part of Psihoyos’ upcoming documentary, “Racing Extinction,” which will premiere on the Discovery Channel in December.
“We’re going to try to create something beautiful. Not bum people out,” Threlkel explained. “Hopefully, this is one big domino. If we can tip it, it would be great.”