Happy Thanksgiving! To keep you busy while you recover from turkey coma, we're republishing some of our favorite stories from 2013. Enjoy.—Eds
"Projection mapping" is the worst, most technical term. Most people’s eyes glaze over when they read it, and that’s a shame, because they never witness the techno-art miracle that it actually is. Projection mapping choreographs everyday projectors—like the ones we use for movies and PowerPoints—to map video onto the 3-D spaces of real life. The final product is like special effects sparkling within our actual world. They’re not computer-generated lies that can only live in films; you can actually see these effects with the naked eye.
But whether you’re new to the medium or not, this new short Box—by Bot & Dolly in conjunction with The Creators Project—will absolutely blow your hair back. It begins with a simple white rectangle. And through a combination of clever performance art and Bradley Munkowitz's stunning animation, that simple white rectangle morphs into a magical portal to its own inner universe. Each moment you think the piece has peaked, the artists and technicians push the envelope a bit more. (Just click the video if you haven’t already!)
So the question remains, what special sauce makes this piece so good? Aside from the superb art direction, Bot & Dolly use extremely precise (KUKA?) robots in the performance. Generally reserved for mass manufacturing, these robots become more and more popular in art projects. In Box, they provide movement accuracy down to the millimeter level, offering a precision that seamlessly blends the analog and digital worlds.
Of course, all of this has been painstakingly choreographed, but we’re already seeing projection mapping work its way into more dynamic live performances (most often in concerts). And it’s there—conveyed in front of unfettered eyes rather than through a YouTube clip—that projection mapping will really take off, maybe so much so that it forces us to finally come up with a better name for it.
[Hat tip: The Creators Project]