Highlighting Russia Ties, Guerrilla Artist Projects an Image of Putin Onto Trump Soho Hotel

Trump Soho Hotel was illuminated by a message of protest.

"HAPPY TO HELP, BRO." was projected onto Trump Soho Hotel on Monday, August 7. Courtesy Robin Bell, via Twitter.

Pedestrians and onlookers near Trump Soho Hotel in New York on Monday witnessed a light projection highlighting President Trump’s alleged links to Russia.

Activists beamed an image of Russian president Vladimir Putin onto the facade of the hotel alongside the message “HAPPY TO HELP, BRO” and another that read “FOLLOW THE MONEY,” according to Gothamist. Both of the projected messages appeared in English and Russian, as a group of five protesters dressed in Russian military uniforms stood in front of the building waving Russian flags.

The man behind the projections is the video journalist and multimedia artist Robin Bell, who frequently employs light projections as a form of protest and civil disobedience. This is not the first time he has taken aim at President Trump. In May, the artist projected quotes from the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution—which forbids government officials from accepting payments and gifts from foreign governments—on Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. He has staged similar protests in the past and on issues ranging from the environment to surveillance.

On Monday night, the artist pulled up in front of Trump Soho in a specially converted van to spotlight the persistent allegations that Trump colluded with the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.

“We really want the focus to be on the Trump administration and the people around him who are breaking the law,” Bell told artnet News. “Last night was a very sight-specific projection on the Trump Soho because this is where we believe that some of the money that was laundered via the Russian government [was invested] and where some of the investors of that hotel came from.”

“FOLLOW THE MONEY” was also projected onto Trump Soho Hotel on Monday, August 7. Photo: Kyle Depew, courtesy of Bell Projections.

Bell and his collaborators brought a custom-built mobile cart that houses a projector, power station, and computer all in one structure, giving him the freedom to move around the city.

“Last night was really fun to use [the mobile projector] because that’s something I built for exactly this, and it worked out really well that we were able to pull off the projection really fast,” Bell said.

Although the images were only projected onto the building for 10 to 15 minutes, the project quickly went viral on social media, thanks to onlookers who shared the message online.


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