United States Embasy Projection

Projection onto buildings in recent years has become a huge part of corporate, individual, unique and special events that intend to create a large-scale impact. Having the chance to work on The Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the summer has developed into many more fantastic opportunities, including the recent United States Embassy for the elections on 8th November 2016. Working alongside Ross Ashton & The Projection Studio a new iteration of animations using the USA Flag was produced.

The animation of the flag first came about during the tattoo as part the United States army band. The style, visual display and impact of the piece was powerful and portrayed many links to traditional patriotic American culture. Being well known for their patriotism, that was worked upon into a visual spectacular of interchanging stars and stripes that blasted audiences with a display of red, white and blue. The great reaction, which this received at the tattoo, has since lead to a second interaction being produced for a different building. Being a different shape, size and technical specification a whole new set of animations had to be produced. Using the same classic motion graphic style, which worked last time an upgraded and more complex mapping was produced.

The new mapping used features of the building as a play on the flag, specifically the architecture on the building that provided physical lines and grids that could be included in the design. Projection mapping relies heavily on the use of the physical elements to complement and capture audience’s imagination. Many mappings just use the building as a screen to just place a video onto, like a giant screen. This could be considered projection but now projection mapping as the surfaces, texture, geometry and physicality of the building isn’t considered into the content creation.

As part of the project I was tasked with making the animation for the installation. The piece needed to run for around 3 minutes and be part of a look that could be played during the evenings events. This requires a level of thinking outside the normal liner video production adding a loop without the piece becoming repetitive.

Conceptually the project has less meaning as it’s a commercial piece of work however, the process of projection mapping has far greater meaning and understanding that’s brings more present within my understanding and thinking. Projection mapping is considered a form of augmented reality as it’s a digital image rendered within the real world. However cases such as Pokémon GO! Is also considered augmented reality, which questions the boundaries of this augmented reality. Either or both are forms of realties, which digitalize a form of our reality. I question whether projection mapping enters a new reality of physical/digital reality where the boundaries are crossed and the digital renders within the physical environment juxtaposing the two and not upon a digital screen which is capturing a piece of the physical. The difference between the immersive nature of these two examples shows the questionable classification of augmented reality.

This critical thinking surrounding projection mapping has steamed from reading James Bridels understanding of the new aesthetic that primarily regards the relationship between the physical and digital (Bridle, 2016). Bridles perception of blending of these realities directly informs my own re conceptualisation of augmented physical and virtual realities becoming blended through the use of projection and physical surfaces.