The Halo Effect
Site Specific Installations
Senior Thesis II

Neon signs are resurging, whether as a corporate aesthetic or decor in a coffee shop, but what meaning does it attribute to their given space? Signs carry different meanings in form and content. Each has a different viewing experience due to their own subjective visual semiotics – seeing symbols and imagery as a communicative tool or language – like in a dark alleyway with flickering letters that illuminate immoral deeds that took place, or as a common backdrop in sci-fi films, representing the future.

The Halo Effect is a series of seven site specific projections using illustrations and text, specifically designed to replicate the aesthetic of neon installed in different Lower East Side spaces at night that convey the seven deadly sins in the Bible. The spaces are chosen to generate social commentary of the particular establishments they are projected on. The interaction between the projections and the site prompts viewers in the vicinity to stop and reflect on these places, bringing their social impact to light.

This thesis explores how the visual qualities of neon signs – its color, contour, size, and lighting – can facilitate a different perception in mood, context, and spatial meaning. The Halo Effect invites the viewer to be reflective and conscious of the wider implications of neon signs and the spaces they live in – to pause when they would normally walk past.

This thesis was initiated after getting my hands on a physical neon sign. By placing it in different areas of the L.E.S then taking day shots without the sign and night shots, I was able to juxtapose the sign with the environment. But this was cost prohibitive in being able to get more pre-made signs that were able to create commentary on different spaces. In addition getting one custom made sign was at least $200.

What was not photographed enough was the help I received in being able to physically going to all these L.E.S. locations and setting up for each projection.

Thanks to my family and friends for the support and for taking the time out of their days to help me complete The Halo Effect.