Unit 2.1: Glow - Projection Mapping Collaboration
Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Fungi and park-inspired projection mapping collaboration with (MA) Animation student, Sara Massieu, and (MA) Sound Arts student, Samuel Abereniye-Anga, at Brookmill Park, Lewisham.
We've decided to projection map at a local park in Lewisham, an area we know and is safe to visit during Covid-19 restrictions.
After 3 days of collaborative drawing with Sara:
Using the online whiteboard, Miro, we created this array of complex and complementary drawings, inspired by fungi and Brookmill Park.
Black: Me Blue: Sara
Sound design by Samm:
Directly inspired by our drawings, as well as photos and audio recordings of Brookmill Park.
Deciding what to animate:
Sara and I called and went through sections of the drawings we wanted to animate.
Green: Me Pink: Sara
These animations were created directly from the collaborative drawings and reworked while listening to the drawing-inspired sound design by Samm.
This was my first animation produced from the drawings. I traced the outlines of this structure and mobilised one of the many cell-like shapes to move through the structure. I've built upon the original drawing through the creation of a slingshot-type aggressor that fires and destroys the cell emerging from a hole. The movement and tone was also inspired by the visuals of the 1989 film, The BFG.
After revisiting the photos of Brookmill Park and reminding myself of the relationship we wanted to create between the animations and environment, I realised that the complexity of this animation didn't quite fit the objective. The interactions seen in the animation are contained and self-fulfilled. If I wanted to make animations that were completed through their interaction with the surroundings I needed to remove a few elements from this animation.
Developing the animation, I created these 3 GIFs. The first, simply a moving cell and a set of holes, that could be mapped to interact with a surface. The last two are two separate GIFs, that together tell the relationship of aggressor and victim, but separated could be mapped to display this relationship across different planes. I also realised, moving forward, that these animations didn't need an outer glow effect as, being projected, they would inherently glow.
I then set about making more of these animations. After a tutorial with Nica, we were determined to make some animations that interacted with the water at the park. Here are three animations that would do so:
The two animations on either side would act as containers for water they extracted from the river and the middle one, a fish-like fairy, would glide through the river itself.
I thought these animations would work well mapped onto trees. The first is a fairy jumping through hole. If mapped on a tree branch, could appear as though it's jumping out of the branch. The second is a fairly literal take on the original drawing; a floating mushroom with an other-worldly feel. The last two are a leaf and vine, which could be mapped separately onto branches. These two are a realistic addition to the surrounding but with an element of surrealism with its luminescence and rapid growth.
The video below shows the process and outcome of this project, from the collaborative drawing between Sara and I, and Samm's subsequent sound design, to animating those drawings and mapping them onto the trees and the river at Brookmill Park.
This project was an exploration into transforming our practice into a format new to us with exiting potential. The idea behind the project was to focus on both reflecting and reinterpreting the natural environment through moving image and sound.
Inspired by the scenes of our local park and the visually-rich topic of fungus, Sara and I began our process with collaboratively drawing online. This resulted in a wonderful myriad of complex and complementary drawings. These drawings were then sent to Samuel (MA Sound Arts), along with photos and ambient sounds from the park. He created a looped audio that was a direct and intuitive product of this exchange. Additionally influenced by the sound design, we began to rework our drawings into animations that would subsequently be projection mapped onto natural scenes at the park.
I believe this project was partly defined by getting accustomed to projection mapping, an eye-opening format that came with its own challenges. We faced learning the mapping software, ensuring both the projections and the surfaces were illuminated, and keeping the equipment steady in our locations. I also found it important to produce animations that were completed through their interaction with the environment and that the placement of these animations would accentuate the natural forms they were projected onto.
This was a wonderfully challenging and enlightening collaboration to be involved in. Being able to work with others in such an experimental and fluid way was very freeing and allowed for intuitive creativity to lead this project.