Robin Bell
Artist Robin Bell projected messages of protest onto the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Monday night. (Liz Gorman / Robin Bell)

For a short period on Monday night, a large projection appeared on the facade of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., that read “Emoluments Welcome,” along with an animation of the flags of nations where President Trump has business projects.

This was followed by a message that read “Pay Trump Bribes Here,” with an arrow that pointed to the front door of the hotel. Yet another featured an excerpt of the emoluments clause from the U.S. Constitution, which restricts members of the U.S. government from receiving gifts from foreign powers. (Trump is being sued by one watchdog group for potentially violating this clause.)

The projections were all part of an act of protest by artist, filmmaker and video editor Robin Bell, who has been creating these types of guerrilla light protests for more than half a dozen years. His latest action, however, began to go viral on social media almost as it was happening.

“We had a really great moment tonight with this projection,” Bell says. “This double-decker tour bus pulls up to the Trump hotel and everyone starts taking photos and clapping and people are cheering us.”

Bell has been working with projections in one form or another since 2001 — first for musical acts, then as a form of activism. This has included, for example, elaborate messages…