Behind the Scenes of the Jenny Holzer Projection event
by Vanessa Nesvig, PMA Coordinator of Special Projects
I have had the privilege to work on the logistics for the Jenny Holzer event that is coming up on Tuesday, December 7. I have learned so much about what an event like this involves and now know so many more people in our fair from city of Portland.
It was way back in March that Jenny Holzer, the famous artist currently known for her projections on buildings around the world, told our Director of Education Dana Baldwin, that yes, she would be able to give a lecture here and would do a projection for us. Wow! We were blown away, and as it turns out, we are the smallest city she has ever shown in. We felt honored. Next, we needed approval the City.
In September we started full steam ahead with the logistics. A site visit with Kevin Thomas from the Portland Public Services Department, taught us that there isn’t enough power at the Congress Square electrical box for the 6,000 watt projector bulb needed, so we would have to rent a three-phase generator. Kevin graciously said that he would personally unwire the three street lamps in Congress Square, for both the night of the rehearsal and the night of the projection, so the lights would not compete with the projection. Next, I learned that the generator might run at a decibel level that is too loud for this part of the city, but my fears were quelled when Marge Schmuckel, Zoning Administrator, gave us the OK as long as decibel level was below 55 after 9 p.m.
We then had a site visit from Gilles Gingras from FX Productions, Montreal, who will be running the actual projection. He had the final say of where we would put the U-Haul van that houses the projector. Once that was determined, we worked with Ted Musgrave, Special Activities Coordinator, to fine tune our permit for Parks and Recreation. At this point, we realized that it would be best to close that section of Congress Street from Forest to High Streets for the night of the projection. This involved approval from Marge for the street closing and some permit modifications.
Dana Baldwin worked on all the permits and insurance that were required by the Holzer studio for text rights, liability insurance, and press releases. All the surrounding businesses were notified and seem very enthusiastic.
For the nights of, we will have “all hands on deck.” Security will cover our street barricades and facilities will assist with the projection along with Headlight Audio Visual. Education and Public Relations will assist with the lecture and reception and Visitor Services will cover the book signing. That is just about all of us—Our Village!
To see some of Jenny Holzers, visit http://www.jennyholzer.com/