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An Immersive Experience

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As Shanghai Hosts Huge Digital Arts Festival, 360-Degree Projection Takes Center Stage

A shining star in Asia’s October arts calendar, Shanghai’s eArts Festival is the biggest dedicated digital arts event in the world. The five-day program features events, performances and installations in a range of venues, uniting artists from all over the planet and creating a fusion of art and new technology.

The eArts Festival activities take place across a range of venues, each with its own theme. At the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, the theme is ‘eLandscapes’, in which curator Richard Castelli seeks “a total reworking of the screen-spectator relationship, for which new technologies and new narrations are necessary.” Among the exhibition’s wide variety of interactive and immersive displays is AVIE—the Advanced Visualization and Interaction Environment pioneered by the Australianbased artist and Director of the UNSW iCinema Research Centre, Jeffrey Shaw.

The Shanghai implementation of AVIE will see 12 of projectiondesign’s F20sx+ DLP projectors firing two 1000 x 8000 pixel polarized stereoscopic images over the entire surface of a 360-degree screen,

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The Shanghai implementation of AVIE will see 12 of projectiondesign’s F20sx+ DLP projectors firing two 1000 x 8000 pixel polarized stereoscopic images over the entire surface of a 360-degree screen, which can be viewed by 30 or more visitors using polarizing glasses. which can be viewed by 30 or more visitors using polarizing glasses. A cluster of seven high-performance graphics PCs delivers the image data to the projectors using custom geometry correction and edge-blending software.

Complementing the unique visualization and interaction features of AVIE is its spatialized audio system: a 14.2-channel system with custom surround-sound application software. With its speakers situated behind the micro-perforated projection screen, this system enables a fully immersive 360-degree placement of sound anywhere around the viewers.

As well as AVIE, a similar panoramic exhibit using two F20 sx+ projectors is taking place in the Hampi exhibit. Five F20 sx+ projectors will be used in a dome configuration in the Hemisphere exhibit, while a further six F20 sx+ projectors are shown in the Globorama as well as 12 projectors configured in a hexagonal back projection in the Virutal Room exhibit. All areas of the event use the existing resources of the iCinema Centre and ZKM Karlsruhe to create an unprecedented array of projectiondesign products, creating numerous spectacular visualization scenarios.

Industry-veteran Thierry Ollivier, projectiondesign sales manager for Russia, Japan, Korea and France, played a key role in supporting the numerous projects and sponsorship of the Festival. “As video projector manufacturers, it is our responsibility not just to give our backing to established business and domestic applications of our technology, but to support artistic work which has the potential to give people an entirely new perspective on how they relate to, and interact with, projected imagery,” commented Ollivier.

“An immersive experience such as this requires projectors with a very high degree of uniformity as well as high levels of brightness and contrast, and that is what our F20 sx+ delivers. In return for supplying these projectors, we are in the privileged position of being able to see, at first hand, how visitors react to such an immersive and interactive experience. This in turn deepens our understanding of how people perceive projected images and enriches our own R&D efforts going forward.”

As well as the eArts installation, projectiondesign F20 sx+ projectors are also being used in Shanghai for two other projects, co-authored by Jeffrey Shaw and Sarah Kenderdine. These are Place-Hampi, a series of 3D stereoscopic panoramas inspired by the drama of Hindu mythology opening on November 15th, 2008 showing for the next 15 months at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and UNMAKEABLELOVE, which uses a new design of ‘virtual room’ known as RE_ACTOR.

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