Watch: A Dead Sculpture Comes To Life, Thanks To 3-D Projectors

Simple geometric shapes transform into interactive entities of pure light. It makes us wonder, how could 3-D projection augment the world of analog sculptures around us?

Few people would look twice at this strange but dull collection of white pyramids. That is, until the lights go out and the 3-D projection system comes on. Because then, through the magic of luminescence, the inanimate is animated, and the dead analog world is brought to digital life.


This is Patterns Emerge, a new, in-progress installation by Nature Graphique. It’s basically a pile of geometric shapes that have been mapped into a computer. So through the magic of a few projectors, a glowing force appears to ebb and flow over their contours in real space.

“The idea was to create a small enigmatic world, and to build it through shadow and light,” explains Nature Graphique Director Aurélien Lafargue. “The purpose was to create an automaton scene where the spectators may turn into the director in a dreamlike, fantastic world.”

From what I can tell, Patterns Emerge operates under a self-guiding sequence, but through a few “secret items” pertaining to a Kinect and touch interface, another, more interactive mode is available to spectators. (That’s not so surprising, given that the studio has specialized in some insane interactive VJing.) In this regard, the sculpture seems to be a future-forward creation of art, one capable of standing on its own or acknowledging the whims of its audience.

But maybe the neatest part is that there’s no real reason that something like Patterns Emerge needs to be single-shape specific. I can imagine a future in which a tool like Kinect can scan a scene instantly, feeding the contours of anything from a classic Greek statue to a modern art exhibit into a laptop, while a few algorithms chew away at the shapes and 3-D projectors paint the scene in light.

Indeed–we’re not even all that far from such a reality today. Projected art could be poised to get very interesting, and very disruptive.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.