Lane Hall to discuss grassroots political activism March 7

Lane Hall to discuss grassroots political activism March 7

Feb. 21, 2013
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

Lane Hall, a multimedia artist, writer and professor in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will give a presentation at Maryville College on Thurs., March 7.

During his presentation, which begins at 7 p.m. in Fayerweather Hall’s Lawson Auditorium, Hall will talk about grassroots political activism.

The event, which is free and open to the public, concludes Maryville College’s 2012-13 Community Conversations lecture series. The theme of this year’s series is “Connections.”

Hall, who has been active in the recent labor struggles in Wisconsin, has written extensively about pragmatic activism. He was a founding member of the Playground Legends PAC, which focused on voter enfranchisement in some of Milwaukee's African American neighborhoods. He co-founded the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB), a “direct action group aimed at DIY political messaging, visibility and the creation of community through the power of play,” according to Hall.

OLB’s activist collaborative public art project consists of a series of LED-illuminated panels displaying letters. Performers, known as “holders of the light,” assemble in line with each person holding one letter, and together, they present a political slogan. OLB’s messages shine over highways at night to increase visibility.

OLB images and videos have been widely – and at times, virally – disseminated throughout the Web and represented on a wide variety of media outlets, including CNN, the BBC, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Ed Show, The New York Times, Time Magazine and The Hindustani Times. His art installations have been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Shanghai World Expo, the Field Museum, the Science Gallery in Dublin and Eyebeam in New York City.

Stumptown Films is producing a documentary about OLB. To view videos, visit For more information about OLB, visit

During his March 7 presentation, Hall will talk about the history of OLB with an attempt to “discuss the larger issues of community building via the powerful mix of physical presence and social media,” he said.

The Community Conversations series is an annual lecture series conducted to facilitate conversations and discussions between members of the entire Maryville College community, citizens of Blount County and surrounding areas, College alumni and prospective students.

For more information about the spring Community Conversations series, please contact Kelly Battles, committee chairperson and assistant professor of English, at or 865.273.8877.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.