Presentation: Marcos Zotes (IS) – Projection as an Urban Activator

Hailing from Madrid, Marcos Zotes now lives and works in Reykjavik, and is the founder and principal of UNSTABLE, a design and research laboratory that explores the social and political aspects of architecture in relation to the urban context.

A former young graffiti artist and skater, one of his main concerns is the reclamation of public space through “interventions”, often using a projector.

Among the projects we were shown was his projection of an eyeball on an old abandoned water tower in New York (to mimic CCTV), the projection of light from CCTV cameras in Reykjavik, transforming the sphere of surveillance into a temporary spotlight for ordinary citizens to pass through.

His largest recent project was to project choreography and colours and patterns onto Reyjkavik’s main church, Hallgrimskirkja, in order to make a “dead urban space” active again and make inhabitants perhaps re-prioritise their perception of public space in general.

Another project, YOUR TEXT HERE, enabled citizens to text a message to a website and have it projected onto public buildings. When the library of his campus wouldn’t let him do so, and put in restrictions, Marcos took it upon himself to first set up his own projector and do it anyway, and also to take it to Detroit where 1000 people wrote texts over two nights.

“Public space has become an arena for debate,” he says, “and this project gave me a glimpse of what public space could be, and that it must be fought for and defended.”