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Christie Drives Projection Mapping for Digital Graffiti Festival

Christie technology was used to project digital artwork onto the bright white architecture of the small town of Alys Beach, FL for its annual Digital Graffiti Festival.
(Image credit: Christie)

Each spring, a global roster of artists descends on Alys Beach, a small Florida town, for a weekend of digital art. This year, the residency artists—the duo Tamiko Thiel and /p, Jes Van Zee from AOA, and Kaiman Walker—used Christie technology to project their artwork onto the bright white architecture of Alys Beach.

Christie projection and Pandoras Box image processing ensured that the artwork was shown exactly as the artists intended. Each residency artist created a unique augmented reality experience, which delighted guests throughout the festival weekend. 

Kaiman Walker’s installation “Chimes” used a swing set to create an interactive, play-based experience using two stacked Christie projectors and Pandoras Box to manage the content. Tamiko Thiel and /p projected onto the residences of Alys Beach using iPads to capture images of guests that were overlaid onto projected images of fish. The fish would move as the iPads were moved. Van Zee explored the interplay between the right and left sides of the brain, and the effects of technology on our thinking. 

Illuminating these large-scale digital artworks is no small feat: the tight timelines for setup, managing ambient light during the festival, and ensuring the content looked as intended were the biggest challenges for the artists. “When you’re making something like this, with a bunch of software and five programs talking to each other, it gets complicated fast,” Walker said. “Just the fact that a trained Pandoras Box user can tell the media server what to do and it does it—that should be applauded. I didn’t have to make any compromises onsite. And it happened pretty quickly.”

For Thiel, the opportunity to show her installation as intended, with bright, 14,000-lumen Christie projectors, was impossible to refuse. “This is the first time someone had come to me and said, ‘We have great projectors that are incredibly bright, that can project on a house.’ It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for years. So of course, when Digital Graffiti contacted us I said, ‘Yes! That’s exactly what I want to do!’”

Van Zee’s work as a media designer and producer at AOA has exposed her to projection mapping and digital artwork, but she says her installation at Digital Graffiti allowed her to do something that she’s never done before. “I love working with projectors,” she said. “You can use any surface as a canvas and you don’t have to limit yourself to a 16:9 flat screen. Any surface—a house, tree, a person—can be your canvas with projection mapping.”