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Hundreds of faces projected onto SF City Hall

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Heads are turning

On Wednesday and Thursday, San Francisco City Hall lit up with an eerie sight: A short black and white film clip of hundreds of people silently turning in unison, projected onto the shining white tableau of the building’s exterior.

It’s an arresting and provocative image, particularly with the building’s storied dome and columns lit up green to compliment the black and white photography.

It was also more than a little unsettling if you didn't know what was happening.

The projected film, titled The Standing March, was part of the city’s Global Climate Action Summit this week. The piece was a collaboration between filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and French artist JR.

According to the summit’s site, “This video first debuted at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. [...] The intent of the video is to remind leaders that the public is watching as they gather.”

Shot in 2015, The Standing March features 500 individual models “united around the idea that the [Paris] conference must end up with meaningful agreements between the countries.”

According to the directors, each subject was filmed separately and then digitally composited into a crowd shot. It was originally projected onto Paris’ Assemblée Nationale building.

Aronofsky is an American director and screenwriter whose credits include Oscar-winning and nominated movies like Black Swan and The Wrestler. JR is an anonymous French photographer who often turns his black and white portraits into street art.

The Global Climate Action Summit happened in SF from September 12 through 14, co-charied by California Governor Jerry Brown and UN Executive Secretary on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa, among others.

If you missed The Standing March’s enlightening, surreal two-day engagement at City Hall, the good news is that the event was well-documented and you can watch the full spectacle in time lapse below.