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Voyager

2017 King's Lynn R&D projection project

Voyager 2017 R&D Projection Project

In May 2017 Pete was selected to join a local R&D project setup by Collusion, a not for profit company working at the intersection of arts, technology and human interaction. 

Four teams were selected to showcase their experimental arts projects working with the projectors in King’s Lynn town centre.

Team Elements

Pete joined up with film maker Gavin Toomey and amateur local historian Beatrice Bray to produce Voyager an interactive projection display on and around Greyfriars Tower.

Voyager was an AI system which scanned historical data from medieval manuscripts and physical graffiti to biological data to piece together a love story over time and discovers its conscious self. 

The Setup

The delivered piece was made up of a number of elements as it took the user on a journey through the park culminating under the tower.

There were 4 main sections to the piece:

Pergola 1 - at the start of the journey we had a short throw projector showing a film made by Gavin onto a 100" screen set into the first pergola in portrait mode.  The film showed images taken from the King's Lynn archive accompanied ambient sounds with digitised voices speaking the 11 line poem Gavin wrote for the love story. 

Pergola 5 - at the end of the pergola section we had a rear projected visual displayed on a 100" nylon dress netting screen.  The display had another film and score made by Gavin with a hexagon overlay that contained the viewers image as depth data collected from a Microsoft Kinect. Pete programmed the visuals and sound into a app that overlaid the depth sensor data. When the user entered the frame the app would track the amount of time they were in view, whilst in view a scanning animation was displayed.  On scan complete it would randomise a response and trigger a scan complete video on the pergola display and also on the whole tower.  The communication with the tower projectors was done over UDP and provided a proof of concept that external triggers can control the council owned projectors over their own infrastructure.

Under the Tower - the participants would enter via the side door of the tower and be drawn into the light from the projector.  We had a rig of two JEM smoke machines and a projector mounted 3m up. The video playing on the projector was made by Pete using Adobe After Effects and the sound made by Gavin.  The result was quite hypnotic.

The Tower - the tower is a Grade 1 listed building standing over 25m high, it has two council owned projectors permanently pointing at the tower.  The projectors are in landscape mode and are driven by two BrightSign I/O Players.  Pete created over 6 films for the main animations and 4 pergola 2 trigger films in Adobe After Effects.  Each film had to be split into a top and bottom film to work on the projector setup.  Pete programmed the BrightSign players using the propitiatory BrightAuthor application so that the UDP trigger sent across the network would synchronise the playing of the pergola film with the top and bottom films on the tower.  Once the film ended the tower would resume playing the next film in the loop of 6 main films.  The choice was made to use this process as a proof of concept that the council infrastructure and preferred authoring system could be used in an interactive way.

Display

The project was on display to the public from Friday 29th September through to Sunday 1st October 2017.

Feedback and Reaction

  • At least 518 people attended over three nights and they were keen to feedback on their experience - 188 audience surveys were completed.
  • People rated the project very highly, describing it as ‘epic’, ‘fascinating’, ‘immersive’ and ‘original’,
    and want to come to something like this again.
  • The project attracted people who don’t usually take part in the arts: 30% of audiences usually only go to an arts event every six months or less.
  • People travelled to King’s Lynn to see the project, with 29% coming from more than 10 miles away.
  • The project was well profiled in the media, including on the front page of the EDP, and many people shared comments and photos on social media.

Collusion

The in_collusion programme, a three year talent development programme, is helping creative people and businesses to develop new skills and ideas around three emerging technologies - artificial intelligence, data culture, and virtual/augmented/mixed reality. Find out more @ www.collusion.org.uk 

The programme was supported by Arts Council England Ambition for Excellence fund, the Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough LEP, and tech partners, Arm and Cambridge Consultants. In addition, this project is supported by King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council. 

Categories
Art,UX
Date
29/09/2017
Organisers
Collusion
Location
King's Lynn, UK
Team Members
Gavin Toomey
Beatrice Bray
Supported By
Arts Council England
Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough LEP
Arm
Cambridge Consultants
King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council
Photographer
Matthew Usher