This article was originally published by Vice Canada.
Photos by Keith Trace.
In retrospect, it seems pretty obvious: if you project 20-foot-tall anti-cop images on the Montreal police headquarters, they will try and mess with your shit.
Which is exactly what happened when the Illuminator Art Collective pulled up in their discreet white cargo van, flicked on their gas generator, turned the manual crank, and popped out their projector. The silhouette of a protester holding a sign reading “Police partout, justice nulle part” (police everywhere, justice nowhere) appeared on the imposing downtown Montreal building.
It was 11:15 PM on a quiet Sunday night—a few police cars had rolled by earlier, but the street was empty. The group in the van was tense, expecting an immediate reaction from the police, but as none came, they all relaxed. Hugo Genes, one of the Illuminator crew members decked out in their “Project & Serve” shirts, was on the roof, taking his time to adjust the image for the perfect photo op. It didn’t matter that no one was really around to see it. It’s great to get the crowds, the team from New York City told me, but when they can get a good shot on a quiet street, the pictures they take can still reach millions over social media.