December 18, 2010

Thursday was HoHoTO 2010. A fun party plus a major fundraiser for the Daily Bread Foodbank ($60k+ this year!). Also, I thought, a great opportunity to build a new piece of fun technology/art to test some ideas around projection mapping (digital projection on non-simple surfaces). With only two weeks between the definite “yes, go” date and the event itself creating a brand new custom piece on zero budget was no short order. Luckily Isaac Rayment of ProjectION Creative is both a projection mapping expert and enough of a masochist to agree to co-produce give up a lot of sleep.

The set was a ~6ft tall stack of laser cut cardboard ‘TVs’ that built into a stylised Christmas tree. I learned that one reason to respect trees is how they ignore gravity in such elegant style. Creating a top heavy, lightweight but sturdy and perfectly predictable structure proved an interesting challenge.

Once we had the set we used some tricksy software stuff to create video that was aligned and tweaked to look right when projected onto the irregular surfaces of the set. From there we went on to create custom content to work with this specific set. From Tron styled neon hi-tech to Andy Warhol inspired and foodbank themed xmas-y soup cans.

All that behind the scenes, only interesting to nerds stuff brought us to the final piece and the people who experienced it. All that matters really. The response was good from the crowd on the night measured in Twitter mentions, positive comments and camera phone photos taken. It seemed we created a genuinely interesting and eye catching addition to the razzle and dazzle of the night. So thank you to the HoHoTO organisers for trusting a wild and roughly sketched proposal and to the crowd on the night for being such as receptive audience.

I’m really excited to develop this theme further. Combining interesting 3d objects with digital content to create fun and novel experiences. With a dash of interactivity this could be something really special I think. Expect to see more in 2011.

(c) photo by Susannah Dinnen