Projection mapping uses regular video projectors to display images onto 3d surfaces of any shape and texture, creating a new type of visual experience. 2014 saw a big development in projection mapping technique and quality, with projection surfaces becoming larger, effects becoming more detailed, and colours becoming brighter. Moreover, artists also experimented with real time projections on various surface types, such as sculptures and human faces.
Commonly used in advertising, concerts, theatre, and computing, projection mapping is leaving a mark on the current art scene, at its future looks promising and exciting. Here is a sum-up of 2014’s most notable pieces:
In Sight – Visions of America by Refik Anadol
Refik Anadol is a Turkish media director and designer, currently living and working in Los Angeles. 2014 was a busy year for the promising 29 year-old artist, as he showcased 6 different pieces in the USA and Turkey. His most recent work, a partnership between the Los Angles Philharmonic and himself, the first instalment of the orchestra’s In/Sight collaboration project, saw him illuminate and enhance the Walt Disney Concert Hall as the LAP played Edgard Varèse’s Amériques.
To create the stunning visuals, Anadol developed an algorithmic sound analysis platform, which responded to the music being performed in real-time, and captured and analysed the LAP conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen’s body motion, through the use of a Microsoft Kinect and 3D depth camera analysis.
“It aims to facilitate a temporary release from our habitual perceptions and culturally biased assumptions about being in the world, and to enable us, however momentarily, to perceive our own stories and the stories around us freshly.” Refik Anadol
Flying Lotus’ Layer3 by Strangeloop and Timeboy
Strangeloop and Timeboy are David Wexler, and John King, two friends of revolutionary musician Flying Lotus, who got together to create visuals for his 2012 tour. The original Layer3 concept, consisted of projecting images onto 2 screens (one from the front, and the other from the rear) with FlyLo performing in the mid ground, creating a virtual 3D effect.
Having released another album this year, FlyLo is back on the road, with a beefed-up Layer3 show, which Strangeloop and Timeboy transformed from virtual 3D into actual 3D, taking the 2 projection screens out of the equation and substituting them with a newly designed projection structure.
“We’ve have great moments of flow and synchronicity and we’re finding new things all the time because it’s not set, it’s not time-coded.” David Wexler a.k.a. Timeboy
The interesting part about the visual performance is that it is also heavily improvised, with projections being synced with FlyLo’s set based on responsiveness and instinct, between the visual artists and the musician.
iMapp Bucharest 555
Romania’s capital held a large festival called “The Days of Bucharest”, to celebrate the city’s 555th birthday, with over 100 000 people attending the commemoration. The most anticipated show of the weekend was the iMapp Bucharest 555, which brought together 5 international artists, that mapped a 5min and 55 second projection against the 5 500 square meter facade of the historic Palace of Parliament.
Selected through a competition held on the event’s website, Maxin10sity from Hungary, The Macula from Czech Republic, Damien Fountain from France, Les Ateliers Nomad from Romania, and SevenZero from Poland, delivered a stunning perfomance, with 5 projections seamlessly streaming into one another, to the sound of a futuristic soundtrack with intense intervals of massive baselines.
Omote by Nobumichi Asai
Asai is well known Japanese producer/designer, famous for projection mapping stages and buildings. His latest and boldest creation, sees him projecting digital make-up on to a models face, even as she moves around. Using face tracking technology, and astonishing visuals, Asai has managed to blow viewers minds with unbelievably accurate and electrifying projections.
INsite by Luftwerk
In an ode to Mies van der Rohe’s famous Farnsworth house, fellow Chicago-based art and design collaborative Luftwerk created a unique looping projection mapping installation, which transformed the building for 4 nights in October. Seeking to emphasise the 70 year old glass house’s structure and highliting the horizontal steel beams on which it is supported, and visually eliminating it’s connection to the ground, giving it special floating aspect.