Press Releases

Projecting Change: The Empire State Building

03 August 2015

On Saturday, August 1st, 2015, Oscar®-winning director and Oceanic Preservation Society founder Louis Psihoyos (RACING EXTINCTION, THE COVE) and team, in collaboration with ObscuraDigital, Academy® Award nominated composer J. Ralph (RACING EXTINCTION, THE COVE), Discovery Channel, Vulcan Productions, the Li Ka-Shing Foundation and Empire State Realty Trust illuminated the Empire State Building in a first-of-its kind live video projection that showed beautiful, inspiring imagery of endangered species to the world as never seen before. The projections were choreographed around two original songs created specifically for the RACING EXTINCTION film and featured the world’s first sneak peak of “One Candle” written and performed by J. Ralph & Sia and “Manta Ray” written and performed by J. Ralph & Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons).

For the first time in New York City history, this stand-alone, architectural projection art event featured towering images of endangered species—more than 350 feet tall and 186 feet wide, and covering 33 floors—on the south façade of The Empire State Building in an art event meant to draw attention to the creatures’ plight against mass extinction. Using 40 stacked, 20,000-lumen projectors on the roof of a building on West 31st Street, Travis Threlkel founder of Obscura Digital and Louis Psihoyos illuminated the night with live video projections, including (an 8 minute environmentally-focused tableau, combined with iconic imagery of endangered species, that made each 15 minute cycle running throughout the night a unique experience) showing a Noah’s ark of animals including Cecil the Lion, a snow leopard, a golden lion tamarin and manta rays, along with snakes, birds and various mammals and sea creatures choreographed to Racing Extinction’s original songs. Throughout, the LED lights atop the building were coordinated with the projection, by the building’s lighting designer.

RACING EXTINCTION’s composer and music producer J. Ralph is Oceanic Preservation Society’s longtime collaborator who also wrote and produced the music for THE COVE, the United Nations projection event, and Saturday’s “Projecting Change: The Empire State Building” event. For RACING EXTINCTION, he enlisted internationally acclaimed artists Sia and Antony to collaborate with him on two original songs, essential to the film’s narrative and to the global awareness message. The resulting “One Candle” is an anthemic and unifying call-to-action written and performed by J. Ralph & Sia while “Manta Ray” is a haunting and transcendental requiem written and performed by J. Ralph & Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons). Both songs are prominently featured in the film and will be released on the RACING EXTINCTION soundtrack in the fall.

Hundreds of socially conscious guests gathered on the rooftop of 230 Fifth Avenue while many viewed online via livestream (at, as these incredible images were projected, urging people to join the movement against species extinction. The global conversation will continue this fall with the upcoming theatrical release of Psihoyos’ documentary film RACING EXTINCTION. Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions is leading the social impact campaign around the film to save endangered species and reduce carbon emissions. The documentary will also have its international broadcast premiere on the Discovery Channel in over 220 countries and territories within 24 hours on December 2nd, 2015.

“Projecting Change: The Empire State Building” was produced by Obscura Digital, a leading creative technology studio specializing in the design and execution of immersive, interactive and multi-sensory experiences worldwide, in collaboration with Empire State Realty Trust. Obscura Digital is the creative and technical collaborator with OPS, having a specific role in developing new strategic techniques for large-scale environmental campaigning.

The Oceanic Preservation Society wishes to thank Empire State Realty Trust for making this historic event possible.

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About the Empire State Building
Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan (from base to antenna), the Empire State Building, owned by Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., is the “World’s Most Famous Office Building.” With new investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world. The skyscraper’s robust broadcasting technology supports all major television and FM radio stations in the New York metropolitan market. The Empire State Building was named America’s favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects, and the Empire State Building Observatory is one of the world’s most beloved attractions as the region’s #1 tourist destination. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit,, @EmpireStateBldg,, or

About the Li Ka Shing Foundation

Established in 1980 by Mr. Li Ka-shing, the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) has three strategic focuses: nurture a new culture of giving; support education reform initiatives; and advance medical research and services. Mr. Li considers the Foundation to be his “third son” and has pledged one-third of his assets to it. With initiatives spread over 19 countries and regions, LKSF supports projects that promote social progress through expanding access to quality education and medical services and research, encouraging cultural diversity and community involvement. Since its inception, LKSF has granted over HK$17 billion, 87% of which benefit projects in the Greater China region.