The ‘Bat Signal’ – “Projection Bombing” by Occupy San Diegans at Convention Center and Other Public Buildings

by on February 15, 2012 · 11 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Culture, San Diego

Occupy San Diego Throws the ‘Bat Signal’ Up at Democrats’ Party Convention

 By Eugene Davidovich / Special to the OB Rag

SAN DIEGO – There are dozens of commercial buildings in San Diego with large flat windowless surfaces which most people would consider an eyesore. But for Occupy San Diego (OSD), during the weekend of the Democratic Party State Convention, many of those buildings including the convention center itself, served as a canvas for the OSD ‘Bat Signal’.

The ‘Bat Signal’ or guerrilla projections; images shown in public without any necessary approvals or permits, have gained steam in recent years in art communities across the world, and are seen on buildings and landmarks from Los Angeles all the way to London.

With the accelerated growth of the Occupy movement, protesters wishing to send a strong, visible, and defiant political message have also begun to employ this tactic in cities across the nation. The first Occupy ‘Bat Signal’ was cast by Mark Read, an artist and activist with Occupy Wall Street, who threw an image of ‘99%’ and the names of different Occupies across the world onto the Verizon building in New York City on November 17th of last year.

Last weekend in San Diego activists with OSD decided to also engage in some light graffiti. Using a laptop connected to a 6500 lumen Sanyo projector from San Diego Audio and Video, a gas powered generator mounted to the back of a pickup truck, and a lot of gumption, the OSD projection team cast enormous images onto buildings throughout the city. While pictures of Uncle Sam wearing a Vendetta mask, police brutality, as well as other OSD art were projected onto buildings around town, passersby stopped to gawk, take pictures, and stare in amazement.

The first projection was cast on the evening of Friday February 10th onto the south end of the Convention Center across from the Hilton hotel where delegates and attendees of the State Democratic Party were assembled for the evening’s events and dinners. After almost an hour at the Convention Center the mobile projection team moved onto Children’s Park, where OSD was holding their General Assembly (GA).

Images of the Occupy logo and other activist symbols flooded the side of Children’s museum located directly across the street form the park. As the first image was cast, protesters at the park erupted into cheers and applause. The projections seemed to provide a much needed shot of energy and a diversion from the contentious and stressful discussion taking place at the GA.

“This is one of the most effective, environmentally friendly, and visible actions I’ve been part of since joining the movement,” said one of the projector operators.

Following Children’s park, the the ‘Bat Signal’ moved onto Civic Center Plaza, where the main Occupy San Diego encampment prior to the police raids was located. At the plaza, images of Occupy were projected onto the Civic Center Building, the Spreckels Building, Bank of America, as well as the south side of Luthor Tower.

On Saturday, the second day of the Democratic Party State convention, as soon as the sun went down, the OSD projection team was back in action. Again, they started at the Convention Center and later moved onto other buildings in downtown San Diego finishing the show at the main San Diego County Courthouse.

At the courthouse, as an image of a giant red, white, and blue fist, along with the word ‘Occupy’ above it, covered the entire building, the projector operator said, “This one, is special for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Lookout Bonnie, Occupy is coming for you and the rest of the corrupt politicians in San Diego!”

"Projection bombing" of the Spreckels Building.

The San Diego County Courthouse

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Nadin February 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm

So you know, this led to a few good conversations with attendees. Gets better, I expected a few “occupy are ****” This is the good news, I found zero of that. I had to tell some folks the chief complaints/ demands…but I found none who even questioned methods.

Lord knows I tried by the way.

A hell of a weekend, that it was.


Pat February 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I love the creativity!
Peaceful, smart, non-destructive measures work best.


Eugene Davidovich February 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm

This was definitely a fun, creative and effective action. I look forward to seeing some more projections with Occupy messaging in the near future here in San Diego!


Pete February 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Excellent maneuvering throughout the city taking over the skyline. Manned by a team of revolutionaries with the timing of Seal Team VI. Sexy individuals, men and women of the Occupy San Diego. They laugh in the face of fear and each one with the humility of Christ. OK , ok. Bullshit on all that. It must have been funnerthanhell.


rick trujillo February 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Right On, Pete,
Occupy Wall Street led the way with these (I hope this is scientifically correct) photon posters. They are illuminating in so many ways and a very strong answer to the fucked and faked light show on the inside of the convention center. Occupy is independent of the two parties. Some still don’t get it. This light show of force is about the 99% who are looking for change, not yesterday but today and tomorrow, and that ain’t soon enough for hungry kids and moms who need shelter. This is our message in the face of all the military in the area. They ain’t defending us, we are defending us.


Anna Daniels February 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm

This tastes like more, more, more. It is effective and dare I say fun? Lots of possibilities out there.


Pete February 16, 2012 at 7:14 am

What if we show a pic of Jerry Sanders kissing Bonnie’s bare ass?


Lois February 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

Oh Pete, you are just hysterical. My biggest laugh of the day. Love it!




Hasmik Geghamyan February 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm

hahahahhahahaha……how crude, i love it. :)


Hasmik Geghamyan February 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

What a creative implementation of civil disobedience. OSD rocks! I love the pictures, especially the one reminiscent of the “Free Tibet” flag, with the fist in the middle.


dorndiego February 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Great, big tactic that maybe will soon be followed by commercial apps for toothpaste and The Mitt but until then go on and on with this one cousins, because the scale just outdoes every message board and yard sign and bumper sticker by factors of …?


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