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Final reflections...

I began this course with only a vague idea of how I might want to use emerging media, and a desire to explore and learn more. My reasons are twofold: to be able to teach students new and interesting ways of using software with their architectural and industrial design projects, and to use the tools and technologies as an artist in my own work.

The texts and readings gave me a place to start. Beginning to look online at what media artists have created, the performer/artist ADandypunk’s piece The Alchemy of Light featured drawing, performance and projection. I watched many YouTube tutorials on how to create projection mapping, and tried out software such as HeavyM and AfterEffects.

The content of my projection mapping project began with an interest in residual space: the urban space left over or when other structures are built. The original goal was how to enliven residual (or abandoned) space without actually building permanent structures. How could an “architecture” of light and image be employed? How could these overlooked spaces be made to feel safe, vital, purposeful?

The process initiated with walking, wandering, observing spaces, taking photos and videos. I focused on two places that I am familiar with: Richmond, Maine, where I live, and the Rockaways, where I frequently spend time with family. Both places have an abundance of residual space and/or abandoned space, resulting from the closing of industry, the remains of older infrastructure, and evolving local character. I chose specific sites, graphic images, and videos of the natural environment from both places to use in my project.

As I worked, and read through each module, I became enchanted by some of the work that

Included performance and dance. featured a number of interesting pieces, as well as technical information. Research during the sound module renewed my interest in John Cage’s work, and for much of the projection, I used ambient sound: wind, footsteps, a train going overhead. The piece opens and closes with a short piece of music found on creative commons.

Using hand drawing, Photoshop, and Illustrator, I created some figures that would “perform”, flying and tumbling through the projection. AfterEffects allowed me to create special effects for the figures, and to edit the videos that I was using as the set for the figures. The figures appear, disappear, and reappear in various settings, acting out the intention of the piece: residuals...what remains after everything else is gone. Other videos and images project on various surfaces to enliven the performance. At times, there is a circus of activity. The mood transitions from quiet and desolate, to lively, and eventually back to silence.

Being winter in Maine, I am not yet ready for an outdoor projection. So for this project, I have used an architectural model of a pedestrian street, and have added some cubes and a backdrop for projection surfaces. When I am ultimately able to project outdoors, it may be without sound.

Some of my biggest challenges have been: the projector I am using (a small inexpensive Optoma projector), learning to use AfterEffects and Premiere Pro (both great fun, I am hooked!), and getting a decent video of the projection mapping as it plays. I have done some research on this, and the information I find is very technical and makes reference to equipment that I don’t have access to. But despite the challenges, the work has been extremely rewarding. I have begun to use some new software, and thanks to classmates, have learned about yet other software to try. From our discussions, I’ve discovered a number of artists, performers, films, virtual reality worlds, and animations. I have new tools to teach with, and to make art with.

I feel that I have just scratched the surface of what’s possible, there is so much more that can be done with the software, so much I still don’t know. Other ideas are bubbling up for future projects: using augmented reality for architecture projects, using animation with paintings and artwork, and designing more, and better, projection mapping pieces.

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