Mark Read is an artist, educator, and activist based in Portland, ME. Prior to 2020 he lived in Brooklyn, NY, for 22 years. Collaborative processes, interventionist strategies, and public engagement are at the heart of his creative practice. He has worked with and participated in numerous artist and activist collectives and projects, including Reclaim the Streets NYC, The Danger, and most recently The Illuminator Collective, which he founded in March of 2012. His teaching interests center around the role of cultural production in and on social change movements, a subject on which he has presented at conferences such as Open Engagement, The Hemispheric Institute’s Encuentros of 2014 and 2016, and The Allied Media Conference. He is interested in how artists and political activists have, and can, effectively communicate ideas that advance the cause of social, economic and environmental justice. He and his work have been profiled in The New York Times, The New Yorker Magazine, Vice, The Rachel Maddow Show, NPR, and many other media outlets. He has written about his work in publications such as Visual Inquiry, The Brooklyn Rail, Beautiful Trouble and The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, among others. His documentary film work has been broadcast nationally and appeared in numerous festivals, including The Tribeca Film Festival, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Rooftop Films, and in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. He currently teaches Media Studies through NYU’s Prison Education Program and at Southern Maine Community College.

Mark W. Read
85 Morning Street, Apt. 1, Portland ME, 04021

Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier VT, MFA, 2015, Program in Visual Arts.
New School University, New York City NY, MA with Distinction, Media Studies, 2001.
Hamilton College, Clinton NY, Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude, Religious Studies, 1992.


Adjunct Professor, Southern Maine Community College, 2021- Present.

Adjunct Professor, New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, 2000-Present; Department of Art and Education, Steinhardt School, 2013-2017.

Adjunct Professor, Saint Joseph’s College, Brooklyn New York, 2013-15.

Adjunct Professor, Hunter College, Film and Media Department, City University of New York, 2008.

Adjunct Professor, City University of New York, Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, 2005.

Founded The Illuminator Collective (www.theilluminator.org), an art-activist project that utilizes video projection and other technological tools to stage spectacular interventions in public space. 2012-Present.

Core member of The Pedagogy Group , a peer network of socially engaged art educators that presents and publishes on the subject of countering current limitations of conventional art pedagogy.

Member of the Beautiful Trouble Network , a network of presenters and trainers of creative activist strategies.

Member of The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, a group of 30+ singer-activists that perform alongside performance artist Bill Talen (aka Reverend Billy) around the world.

Arts of Intervention: Social Practices in Public Spaces (Gallatin, NYU)

Practical Utopias: Post-Capitalist Practices in 21st Century New York (Gallatin, NYU)

Contemporary Media Studies 101 (CUNY)

Television and Dissent: The Contested Terrain of the Cathode Ray (Gallatin, NYU)

Media and Society: Mass Media and Mass Movements (Hunter)

Digital Media II: Documentary Filmmaking (St. Joseph’s)

Shifting Focus: Video Production and Community Organizing (Gallatin, NYU)

Arts of Intervention: Social Practices in Public Spaces (Gallatin, NYU)

The Art of Collective Practice (Steinhardt, NYU)

2017- The Brooklyn Gaze (public art installation). Main branch, Brooklyn Library, NYC. 2017- From Outrage to Action. Gallatin Galleries, NYC
2017- Wall, Street. (as The Illuminator), Clifford Gallery, Hamilton NY
2016- Hemispheric Encuentro (as The Illuminator), Centro Cultural Diana, Santiago Chile. 2016- Agit Prop! (as The Illuminator), The Brooklyn Museum, NYC.
2014- Hemispheric Encuentro (as The Illuminator), Centre Phi, Montreal, QC
2013- Faculty Show, Gallatin Galleries, NYC.
2011- The Occupy Wall Street Bat Signal (public art intervention), Brooklyn Bridge, NYC. 2006- Whitney Biennial, (as part of Deep Dish TV), The Whitney Museum, NYC.

“ Reflections of an Illuminator,” Visual Inquiry: Learning & Teaching Art, 6:2, 2017. pp 283-295.

“All of Our Grievances are Connected,” (as The Illuminator) Public Art Dialogue, 5:2, 2015. pp 162-169.

“Listening, Thinking and Acting Together,” (as The Pedagogy Group) Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society, 26:3, 414-426.

“The 99% Bat Signal- A Cry from the Heart of the World,” Brooklyn Rail, December 2011.

“Mic Check: How the Mo(ve)ment Talks and Learns from Itself in the American Autumn,” Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, November 2011.

“Occupational Hazards,” Brooklyn Rail, April 2007. “The Ghost Bike Project,” Brooklyn Rail, February 2007.

“Art Towards an End to Enclosure,” Immediacy, February 2003.

“Constrained Discourse: the Problem of Politics and Disinterestedness in Prisoner Art,” Immediacy, Spring 2001.

Movie Reviews
“Dystopia Redux: This Time Blade Runner Feels Real,” The Indypendent, October 2017.
“Al Gore’s Convenient Infomercial for Green Capitalism,” The Indypendent, August 2017.
“The Woman Who Saved New York,” The Indypendent, April 2017
“Dawn of the Social Thriller: Watch Out for Get Out,” The Indypendent, March 2017. “Shining New Light on Black Masculinity: Moonlight,” The Indypendent, December 2016. “Birth Pangs of a Nation,” The Indypendent, October 2016.
“The Full Snowden,” The Indypendent, September 2016

“Towards a Social Practice Pedagogy,” (as The Pedagogy Group), in Art as Social Action: An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Teaching Social Practice Art, Bass and Sholette, eds. New York City: Allworth Press, 2018.

“Case Study: 99% Bat Signal,” in Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution , Boyd and Mitchell eds. New York City: OR Books, 2013.

“Case Study: Streets into Gardens,” in Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution , Boyd and Mitchell eds. New York City: OR Books, 2013.

“Principle: Turn the Tables,” in Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution , Boyd and Mitchell eds. New York City: OR Books, 2013.

“Tactic: Guerilla Projection,” with Samantha Corbin, in Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution, Boyd and Mitchell eds. New York City: OR Books, 2013.

“Collectivity and Public Space,” invited panelist (as The Illuminator), Photography Expanded, Magnum Foundation, New York, NY, June 8th 2017.

“Illuminating in the Era of Trump,” invited presentation, The Visual Resistance Community Forum: Calling All Collectives, New York, NY, April 5th, 2017.

“J20 Speakout,” invited Speaker, Speak Out on Inauguration Day, Whitney Museum, New York NY, January 20, 2017.

“Street Art Action,” invited panelist (as The Illuminator), Hemispheric Encuentro, Santiago, Chile, July 23rd, 2016.

“Interventionist Art Strategies,” invited presentation, EmergeNYC program, Hemispheric Institute, New York City, May 17, 2016.

Artist Talk, Bard College, for Keith Haring Fellow Jeanne Van Heeswijk, Annandale-on-Hudson, May 11, 2015.

“Place and Revolution,” invited presentation (as The Illuminator), Open Engagement, Pittsburgh, PA, April 18, 2015.

Artist Talk, NYU Abu Dhabi, for Professor Debra Levine, NYU Abu Dhabi Campus, March 16th, 2015 (via remote)

Artist Talk, Bard College, for Professor Adriane Colburn, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, February 6, 2015.

“Hybrid Performance and New Media,” invited presentation (as The Illuminator), Re:Fest, New York, NY, November 22, 2014.

“Insistence and Possibility,” invited panelist, Choreographies of Activism, Hemispheric Institute Encuentro Arts Festival, Montreal, QC, June 28, 2014.

“Teachers Lounge,” invited presentation (as The Pedagogy Group), Open Engagement, Queens Museum, May 27th, 2014.

“Art as Radical Pedagogy,” invited presentation (as The Pedagogy Group), What Do We Now, Eyebeam Gallery, New York, NY, October 19th, 2013.

“Threeing workshop: creating sustainable, collaborative relationships using Paul Ryan’s techniques of engagement,” invited presentation (as The Pedagogy Group), Rethinking Marxism Conference, UMass Amherst, September 20, 2013.

Artist Talk, Harvard University, for Professor Krzysztof Wodizco, Cambridge, MA, March 27, 2013.

Artist Talk, Yale University, for Professor Dominika Laster, New Haven, CT, November 21, 2013.

“The Semiotics of Protest,” invited speaker, Visual Legal Advocacy Roundtable at Penn Law School, Philadelphia, PA, October 28th, 2013.

“Illuminated Interventions,” invited presentation (as The Illuminator), Maker Faire NY, Queens, NY, September 29, 2012.

“We Have Decided Not to Die,” invited presentation, YouTube School of Social Politics, June 1, 2012. Online.

“The Illuminator Project: Developing Best Practices for Public Projection Interventions,” invited presentation, Center for Civic Media, Massachussetees Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA, May 4, 2012.

“Creative Activism and Occupy Wall Street,” invited talk, with Stephen Duncombe, Cómo Acabar con el Mal: 5 días de arte y activismo, Barcelona, Spain, March 28, 2012 (via remote).

“The Occupy Moment of Creative Protest,” invited presentation, Fairfield University, Fairfield CT, February 20th 2012.

“The Occupy Moment and Creative Interventions,” invited speaker, The Putney School, January 27th, 2012, Putney VT.

“Signs of Resistance,” invited panelist, Freedom Rider Talk back, New York University December 15th, 2011, New York City.

US Social Forum for Deep Dish TV

Interviews and Profiles

Thompson, Nato. “Lighting Up the Streets with the 99%,” Interview for Creative Time Reports, September 19, 2012. Web.

Marantz, Andrew, “Man with a Van.” The New Yorker Magazine. April 23, 2012. Print.

Sutton, Benjamin, “”Occupy Bat Signal” Artist Returns With “Occupy Batmobile,” Codenamed “The Illuminator.” Art Info, March 01, 2012. Web.

Mason, Paul, “Occupy Artists Take Message to Streets,” BBC Newsnight, BBC Television. May 1, 2012. British Broadcast Television.

Maddow, Rachel, “A Landmark in Guerilla Projection,” The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, November 18, 2011. Cable Television.

Jardin, Xeni, “Interview with creator of Occupy Wall Street “bat-signal” projections during Brooklyn Bridge #N17 march,” Boing Boing, November 17, 2011. Web.

Additional Selected Articles and Essays
Cutter, Holland. “Galleries Scramble Amid Brooklyn’s Gentrification. New York Times, Art and Design section. April 21, 2016. Print

Moynihan, Colin. “Brooklyn Museum Puts Artwork From Its Critics on Display.” Editorial. New York Times, April 8, 2016, Art & Design sec.: 1. Print.

McSorley, Tim. “These Artist-Activists Projected Anti-Police Brutality Images on Montreal Police Headquarters,” Vice Magazine, June 30, 2014. Web .

Vartanian, Hrag, “Activists Take Protests to the Facade of the Guggenheim Museum,” Hyperallergic Magazine. March 25, 2014. Web.

Molisnky, Eric, “Forget the Bat Signal: This Is a Protest.” All Things Considered. NPR. National, New York City, March 24, 2014. Radio.

Schielke, Thomas. “Light Matters: 3D Video Mapping, Making Architecture The Screen for Our Urban Stories.” Architecture Daily. October 1, 2013. Web .

Maddow, Rachel, “Terror in Boston,” April 15, 2013. Cable Television.
“Illuminating Hope,” The Today Show, ABC TV. April 16, 2013. Broadcast Television.

Mason, Paul, “Does Occupy Signal the Death of Contemporary Art?” BBC Magazine, April 30, 2012. Web.

Davis, Ben, “A Look Back at 2011, the Year of Art and Protest,” ArtInfo Magazine, December 20, 2011. Web.

Breslin, Jimmy. “How the Masses Project Power,” The New York Daily News, Opinion section. November 19th, 2011.

Video and Television
#Occupy Bat Signal for the 99%. 2011, 5 min. Producer, Director, Editor. Screened at Rooftop Films Festival 2012. Included in the collection “Mic Check: Documentary Shorts from the Occupy Movement,” produced by Media Education Foundation.

DIY Media: Movement Perspectives on Critical Moments. 2009, Six DVD Set. Produced for Deep Dish TV.

Finding Bolivar’s Heir, with Greg Palast. 2006, 28 min. Producer, Editor. Satellitecast on Link TV.

Dance of Death. 2004, 28 min. Producer, Director, Editor. Aired in March 2004 on FreeSpeech TV, Link TV, and numerous PBS stations around the country. Included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial as part of the Deep Dish TV series, “Shocking and Awful.”

How the WEF Was Won. 2002, 28 min. Producer. Aired in February 2002 on FreeSpeech TV, Link TV, and numerous PBS stations around the country.

Puppetista. 2001. 15 min. Producer, Director, Editor. Selection, 2002 Vermont Film Festival.

9.11, Another World Is Possible. 2001, 28 min. Segment Producer, Editor. Aired on FreeSpeech TV, and numerous PBS affiliates. Selection, 2001 Tribeca Film Festival.

Storm from the Mountain. 2001, 28 Min. Segment Producer. Satellitecast on FreeSpeech TV.

Great America. 2000 , 7 min. Writer, Producer, Director. Selection, Rooftop Films Festival, 2001.

Breaking the Bank . 2000, 56 min. Segment Producer. Selection, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, 2001.

Showdown in Seattle. 1999, 150 min. Segment Producer, Editor. Aired on FreeSpeech TV, and numerous PBS affiliates. Selection, 2000 Human Rights Watch Film Festival and 2000 Margaret Mead Film Festival.

Occupy Pacifica. Produced, edited and hosted four part radio series for Pacifica Radio network. Broadcast on more than 20 radio stations nationwide. Fall 2011.

The Earth Wants You! Produced and edited six part radio series for Pacifica Radio Network. Broadcast on more than 20 radio stations nationwide. Spring 2011.

TBD Radio . Co-Produced and co-hosted monthly radio program on community radio station WGXC (https://wavefarm.org/wgxc) from January 2011-January 2012.

Radio Utopia . Produced and hosted weekly radio program on web radio station (radiohive.org) from January 2009-December 2010.

Event Series
DIY Media: Movement Perspectives on Critical Moments. 2008-2010. Producer. Six part series of panel discussions and film screenings hosted by New York University’s Gallatin School. Funded by New York State Council of the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and a grant from the NYU Humanities Initiative.

Rant Rhapsody. 2006-2008. Producer. Monthly non-fiction reading series for The Brooklyn Rail. Hosted by the Bowery Poetry Club, and Freddy’s Back Room.

Through the Lens. 2005-2007. Producer. Monthly documentary film screening series. Hosted by Bluestockings Bookstore.

First Warm Night, and One Night of Fire (x2). 2006-2008. Producer. Annual large-scale public participatory art events taking place throughout Brooklyn, involving approximately 5,000 people in a work of “social sculpture.”

Co-Director , Deep Dish TV
2007- 2011.
During my tenure at Deep Dish TV my primary project during was the production of an archival screening and DVD series entitled DIY Media: Movement Perspectives on Critical Moments.

Outreach Administrator , Democracy Now!
Worked for this pioneering alternative radio and television news program in the capacity of Outreach Administrator, expanding the number of affiliate television stations from 35 to 82 in less than a year.

Artist in Residence, Hemispheric Institute, New York, NY, 2016-17.

Resident, Blue Mountain Center, Blue Mountain Lake, NY. 2001, 2013, and 2016.

Resident, Millay Colony, Austerlitz, NY, 2009.

Project Grant, Cloud Mountain Foundation, 2010 (for Under the Fence: A Grassroots Examination of the Politics of Immigration , a production of Deep Dish TV). $5000.

Project Grant, New York State Council for the Arts, 2009 (for DIY Media: Movement Perspectives on Critical Moments, a production of Deep Dish TV ). $10,000.

Project Grant, Experimental Television Center, 2009 (for DIY Media: Movement Perspectives on Critical Moments , a production of Deep Dish TV). $5,000.

Project Grant, Ford Foundation, 2001 (for Access Orbit , a production of Paper Tiger TV). $20,000

Project Grant, Maine Arts Council, 1999 (for New Natives: The Legacy of the Back to the Land Movement in Rural Maine ). $1,000.

Organizer, 345 Saint John’s Place Tenant Association, and Crown Heights Tenant Union, 2009-Present.

Organizer, Save Union Square Committee, 2008-2009. Organizer, Reclaim the Streets/New York City, 1998-2004.

Organizer, Lower East Side Collective, community-based activist group, 1999-2000. Also active in various support roles and consultation to a variety of groups and organizations including the Charas/El Bohio Community Center, Sixth Street Community Center, Billionaires for Bush/United for a Fair Economy, UNITE! Local 169, ACT/UAW, United for Peace and Justice, Times Up, Transportation Alternatives, Picture the Homeless, Great Small Works and Bread and Puppet Theater.


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