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Bringing Words to Light

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This column features stories from students exploring the intersection of creativity and technology through Hive Learning Network programs in NYC and Chicago.

This fall I, along with eight of my peers from Urban Word NYC, performed at the 2011 Bring to Light Festival in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. For several weeks leading up to the festival, we worked alongside City Lore, a non-profit with programs that focus on the richness of NYC's cultural heritage. They provided software for us to use in order to project our poems onto actual buildings during this nighttime event that features both emerging and established light, sound, performance and projection artists.

Special shout-out to Urban Word mentor, Jon Sands, whose knowledge in poetry and excellence in motivation kept us going.

I can remember the bright-eyed faces of Timothy DuWhite and Ashley August as they sat in awe when we were introduced to Module 8, the program we used during this project that helped us map the timing and placement of our written words, as they'd be projected on the building façades during the festival.

On the day of our performance, we were discouraged due to inclement weather. However, once the rain cleared up, our excitement returned. The crowd was small, but once our first poet, Mokgethi Thinane, opened his mouth, the numbers increased. To look into the crowd and witness the non-verbal interaction between the audience and the poetry was breathtaking. Words flashing across an apartment building literally brought our words to life, with topics varying from gentrification to the zombie apocalypse, from voices with roots in Africa to Brooklyn.

If you ever wonder if language can exist beyond the page, can speak without speaking, can actually live amongst us, then our experiences at the 2011 Bring to Light Festival is your answer.

See the other performances here and let us know what you think!