Light Festival In Emirate Includes Projection Mapping A Mountain

April 19, 2024 by Dave Haynes

All kinds of big man-made structures have been used as the canvas for projection mapping shows – from grain terminals to mosques to the Empire State Building.

But here’s a very different, and challenging, projection surface – a mountain.

German language content partner invidis has a post up on its site about a light festival also takes place every year in the emirate of Sharjah, a just-next-door neighbor to the much more known Dubai.

Every year for the Sharjah Light Festival, the Tourism and Commerce Authority commissions several artists to create projection artworks for the emirate’s landmarks. The Dubai creative studio Artabesk was there once again this year, using projectors from the British brand Digital Projection, which belongs to the Delta electronics group.

Here is a cross-section of all installations:

One of the most exciting shows this year was about an hour’s drive outside of Sharjah City, at Al Rafisah Dam. The dam is surrounded by green areas and sandstone mountains. Artabest projected a mapping show with a 3D effect onto the side of one of these mountains. The show was intended to tell the story of the city of Khorfakkan.

“There were two main challenges with this projection: the brightness, as the mountain has a brownish, stony color, and the varied shadows that the mountain creates, as it is not a flat surface,” says Mounir Harbaoui from Artabesk. For this dark surface, his team chose Digital Projection’s Titan Laser 37000 WU, a 3-chip DLP projector with a 37,000 WUXGA lumen output.

“We chose our new TITAN Laser 37000 because it is able to project up to 40 meters with any projector,” adds Harbaoui.

Artabesk solved the second challenge – the unevenness of the surface – by focusing 16 of these projectors on one point on the mountain.

Al Rafisah Dam was one of the four locations that Artabesk played. This also included the Sharjah Mosque, for which 21 of the Titan projectors were used. For the other locations, the studio also used M-Vision 23000 WU projectors from Digital Projection. However, no moving images were shown on the sacred buildings; Here the buildings should be in the foreground.

In total there were 12 landmarks that lit up for the 13th edition of the Festival of Lights in February. With the 12-day annual event, Sharjah primarily aims to strengthen the tourism sector, which is a key sector for the emirate’s economy.

This is what the area around the dam looks like by day, very reminiscent of Vegas and Lake Mead.


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