The PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature held their opening procession on Monday with the Parade of Illuminations on The High Line. It featured puppets designed by the Processional Arts Workshop group and constructed by volunteers in the group’s West Village studio. (The Workshop also produced the i of the Beholder pieces in the 2011 Village Halloween Parade.)
Processional characters included large paper mache visions of Patience and Fortitude, the lions outside of the New York Public Library. Scattered throughout the procession were marchers carrying hand-held projectors displaying text from the authors included in this year’s PEN festival. The text was projected onto large magnifying glasses, scrolls and participants dressed in white. The act was designed to symbolize how, in the age of digital text and tablet devices, words are floating all around us and we catch them as we move past.