Hanne Lise Thomsen (DK)

Hanne Lise Thomsen (DK) — HOMELESS NYC 2005

Some people live in luxury,  others have nothing at all – not even a home. The project THE HOMELESS OF NEW YORK CITY WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY HOLIDAY was a comment on this social discrepancy, which is further thrown into relief in december. Using large outdoor  slide projections (25 m x 25 m) the project literally, shed light on the people who live on the underside of society.

30 black-and-white portraits of homeless people were projected onto two walls at Broadway and Howard Street, and were accompanied by the text:The Homeless of New York City Wish You All a Merry Christmas. Doing the project in Manhattan seemed to be the obvious choice, since  the contrast between people who live in penthouses and cardboard boxes is constantly felt as you move around the city.

Manhattan is a symbol of western wealth and consumer culture. In December a surfeit of fairy lights is illuminated everywhere, while on the city´s innumerable advertising hoardings various departments stores and telecom companies wish everyone a very merry Christmas.

The project challenged the commercial Christmas-message through its monumental portrait projections, and called to mind the fact that for many people in New York, neither Kashmir sweaters nor jewellery from Tiffany´s are top of the wish list, but quite simply a roof over their head. The project highlighted this almost absurd social inequality by drawing attention to people without homes, whom the project THE HOMELES OF NEW YORK CITY WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY HOLIDAY litterally put a face to.