Wood as Bones, Light as Flesh from ilan katin on Vimeo.

There’s projection mapping, the trend, as in “hey, we need to get some projection mapping up in here.” Then, there’s mapping, the technique, the deeper sense of illusion and immersion in projection, in which current tools and output are just the first step toward more ubiquitous digital imagery. Making work is an essential way to understand that question. But talking about the ideas behind them can be critical, too.

The video at top by Fail Collective is a perfect example of what immersive imagery can mean, when liberated from the rectangle. We’ve seen it before, but it’s worth re-watching.

Tonight in Berlin, I’m hosted by cultural platform Platoon at their Kunsthalle in Berlin, joined by visualist fRED of failcollective) and Christopher Bauder, installation artist and founder of Whitevoid Studio.

The discussion topic as I framed it, below. The event will be recorded, so we should be able to share it with you. And if you have questions or ideas you’d like us to engage, you can leave them here for us.

Image, Beyond the Flat Screen:
Projection mapping merges architecture, illusion, and digital imagery – but is it just a soon-to-be-forgotten gimmick?

Projection mapping, or more broadly “mapping,” has become a must-have trick in event visuals. The technique geometrically warps digital imagery to fit surfaces like architectural facades, driven by advancements in computer software and 3D. The result is illusions that seem to meld virtual imagery with reality. But is its growing ubiquity a sign that the whole process is just a passing fad, soon to be drained of its charm and novelty?

To take a longer view, we invite practitioners and critics to examine what mapping means for digital imagery. We will consider how projection technique can intervene in public space and urban and architectural environments. We’ll look at its growing role in advertising and live events, in performance and art. We seek out a deeper historical meaning for the technique, and the technical and creative examplars that might best represent the state of the art.

If the moving image is to escape the bounds of the flat rectangle of the cinema, we will look to not only the trend of the moment, but what the trend could be in the future.

The venue itself is interesting; here’s a look as it springs to life from reclaimed shipping containers:

out of the box from PLATOON on Vimeo.

Event info:


From Technique to Medium: Mapping Festival in Videos Immerses Eyeballs