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MIT student blogger Anna H. '14

Laser Graffiti by Anna H. '14

I found something cool on the way home.

A Cosi smore-eating fest is a French House orientation tradition; we spent about two hours there this evening, then walked home.

On the way home, we passed the Green Building. You may know it as the tallest building in Cambridge, and/or the live Tetris game, and/or the building that always has a light on because graduate students never stop working. This building:

When we passed it, around 10pm, it was dark outside and most of the windows were black. But this was on the side of the building:

What? All 20 of us – 10 upperclassmen and 10 freshmen – froze. A laser pointer moved along the wall, and pattern followed. Suddenly, the image disappeared, and the wall went blank. The green laser reappeared, and we all leapt onto a bench for a better view, trying to figure out which room in East Campus it was coming from. The laser pointer drew a monkey:

before disappearing again. Back to blank wall.

We figured that someone up in an East Campus room was equipped with a laser pointer, a projector, and a computer. One of our freshmen started shrieking “DRAW A VELOCIRAPTOR! DRAW A VELOCIRAPTOR!” but no velociraptor materialized. Instead:

Then the artist cheered up:

We stood out there, cheering and yelling. Finally, enough was enough – we entered East Campus en masse, climbed up to the top floor (we figured out where the source was) and found the artist. He was standing in his room, holding a laser pointer, with a projector and laptop on the windowsill. We swarmed in.

The artist ran out of the room to retrieve the guy who had initially set all this up (his name is Ben.) Ben walked us through the setup, then let us create our own laser art.

One of our dinosaur-fanatic freshmen made this (view on the building, view on the computer screen):

My sister made this:

and then it was my turn. I picked up the laser pointed, waved my hand around, and slowly traced out a very mediocre-looking pulsar.

Looked more like a scorpion. Oh, well.

With that, a bunch of East Campus freshmen entered the room to take a turn, so we left to give them space. Who designed this and why? I asked and got an answer. Here’s what’s actually important, though: a group of 20 MIT students wandered through campus at 10pm one night, and there was a kid standing in his college bedroom, using a laser pointer to draw graffiti on the tallest building in Cambridge. He was happy to let us into his room, showed us the ropes, let us draw our own pictures.

IHTFP. Freshmen: welcome to MIT!