Projects: Boston’s SoWa District Gets Projection-Mapped For Illuminus

October 30, 2014 by Dave Haynes

Illuminus (Photo credit Christie)2

A chunk of the hip, historic SoWa district of Boston was lit up last Saturday night in that city’s version of a Nuit Blanche festival, making heavy use of projection-mapping.

Called Illuminus, the event was an opportunity for regional artists, designers, creative technologists, architects, performers and fabricators to push their creative chops to the limit using projection and the slick software that’s making it increasingly easy to map and then transform buildings and objects.

Christie Digital is arguably the most acvtive tech manufacturer involved in projection mapping, and was a big part of the event, donating a wide range of display equipment, content and artistic services, including visual experiences based on the work of two artists from Converse’s “Blank Canvas” series – Caleb Neelon and Kenji Nakayama.

“Once the sun went down, artists could paint a new reality with light and projection,” said Jeff Grantz, Illuminus event producer and founder of Boston-based creative design firm, Materials & Methods. “Christie visual display products were the key, not only providing the cutting-edge display technology, but also some of the content and acting as a creative consultant, helping bring the artists’ vision into sharp focus.” 

Grantz is one of the top guys in projection mapping, having co-produced New York’s versions of the event in SoHo, and done a pile of mapping projects through his company.

He had, through a news release on Illuminus, some very nice things to say about Denys Lavigne, Christie’s Senior Director of Experience Strategy and Creative Services and a guy very familiar in digital signage circles.   

“Denys is one of those rare creative individuals who gets both the big picture and the little details,” said Grantz. “We were plagued with bad weather that limited onsite resources and the amount of time we had to pull the whole thing together.  Among the ‘miracles’ created by his team was a stunning ‘color bar’ sculpture using 40 Christie MicroTiles. It provided a beautiful backdrop that was probably photographed with people standing in front of it about 10,000 times! That’s Christie creativity:  The ability to create something amazing – to be an integral part of a transformative cultural arts event like Illuminus, which will have a lasting impact on the city of Boston.”

“Festivals like Illuminus are a wildly creative blend of digital art, traditional art, and a wide array of multimedia technologies – which inspire our teams to push the boundaries in how we approach creativity in digital media,” said Lavigne. “This event is one of the many installations that showcased Christie’s capabilities in developing next-generation experiential installations. It proved that Christie is out there, taking on the most sophisticated experiences and challenges to deliver a new level of engagement for a wide range of audiences.”

A lot of projection mapping you read about has the heavy artistic, non-commercial spin of these big public events, but you are going to see more and more projection-mapping find its way into brand-driven events and full-time installations, something Christie has started marketing to the cinema business.

Illuminus _head_(Photo credit Christie)

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