Visitors to the FIGMENT Oakland public arts festival encountered other artistic creatures.
NEW YORK – There wasno missing this. Visitors to the FIGMENT Oakland public arts festival in October were treated to an 18-foot wide Unilumin LED wall that was used to showcase creative content and serve as an interactive canvas presenting video works from an array of artists.
“Video art is tricky at FIGMENT because the events take place outside during the day, and video artists like projectors,” said Josh Silverman, WorldStage Lab director of technology, who project managed the installation. “This year we decided to try our new Unilumin LED wall, which is extremely bright and designed for outside use. We set it up in a field in the park in the sunlight, and it was plenty bright and extremely visible.”
The Unilumin system is a bezel-free LED videowall, which supports multiple signal inputs and is environmentally friendly with low power consumption. In addition to installing the videowall, WorldStage Lab supplied content for the wall and coordinated artists’ work.
“We reached out to two dozen interactive video artists to present their work on the wall,” Silverman said. “We got responses from artists who implemented all kinds of interactivity: touchscreen interfaces for visitors to draw on, custom musical instruments that triggered animated graphics, a live dance performance that relied heavily on a video file delivered to us.
“Some artists participated through codedoodl.es, a site which offers a Google Chrome plug-in that serves up fun ‘code doodles’ every time a Chrome user opens a new tab,” he added. The team thought that the doodles would be perfect for the videowall, but it turns out they are designed to be used with a mouse or keyboard, which didn’t work with the tall screen. “So we built a simple camera-based mechanism to drive the code doodles,” he said. The resultant openFrameworks app used simple flow detection to push a virtual mouse pointer around the screen.
An 18-foot wide Unilumin LED wall was used to showcase creative content and serve as an interactive canvas presenting video works from an array of artists.
WorldStage Lab scheduled content in 30-minute blocks. “Technically, the artists didn’t have to worry about custom sizing the output for the Unilumin LED wall,” he says. “Most brought their own computers and just plugged them into the system. It was a really simplified and streamlined process for them.”
Silverman himself created a piece called “Time Stretching” featuring live camera input of festival participants to which visual effects and time shifting were applied in sync with a music track. “We used a Ximea USB high-speed camera and 25 minutes of original music I wrote,” he said. Video was uploaded via computer and played back in sync with audio.
Silverman said the Unilumin LED wall was a big hit at FIGMENT Oakland. “Artists were very excited about being able to participate in ways they couldn’t previously. The system drew very little power, and everyone was quite pleased with the wall’s brightness and color responsiveness.”
WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally. For more information visit www.worldstage.com.