Giant Video Portraits of Refugees Are Circling Manhattan for the UN General Assembly This Week—See Them Here

Shimon Attie's floating film installation can be seen on New York's Hudson and East Rivers.

Installation view of Shimon Attie's Night Watch (2018). Photo: Kate Levy, courtesy of the artist and More Art.

As world leaders arrive to the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, new media artist Shimon Attie is giving them a front row seat to a global issue that he finds particularly pressing.

Attie’s floating film installation, Night Watch, stars 12 former refugees from around the world who were granted political asylum and relocated to New York. Their digital portraits are displayed onto a 20-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide screen, mounted aboard a barge sailing slowly down the East River and the Hudson River. In the 10-minute silent loop, locals and visitors alike have a chance to see some of the individuals who are affected by the country’s changing immigration laws.

Shimon Attie at the opening for Night Watch. Photo: Kate Levy, courtesy of More Art.

The film was commissioned by the nonprofit group More Art, which helped Attie research and collaborate with legal aid organizations, including the Safe Passage Project and Immigration Equality, as well as community activist groups such as the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project and RIF Asylum Support.

Night Watch will be traveling along the Hudson River from 6 p.m.–8 p.m. on September 25-26. It will appear on the East River, near Brooklyn Bridge Park, from 6 p.m.–8 p.m. on September 27. 

See more pictures from the project below:

Installation view of Shimon Attie’s Night Watch (2018). Photo: Kate Levy, courtesy of the artist and More Art.

Installation view of Shimon Attie’s Night Watch (2018). Photo: Kate Levy, courtesy of the artist and More Art.

Installation view of Shimon Attie’s Night Watch (2018). Photo: Kate Levy, courtesy of the artist and More Art.

From left: Victor from Colombia, Denise from Trinidad, Edafe from Nigeria, and Alena from Tatarstan. Courtesy of More Art.

Installation view of Shimon Attie’s Night Watch (2018). Photo: Kate Levy, courtesy of the artist and More Art.

Installation view of Shimon Attie’s Night Watch (2018). Photo: Kate Levy, courtesy of the artist and More Art.

Installation view of Shimon Attie’s Night Watch (2018). Photo: Kate Levy, courtesy of the artist and More Art.


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