The New Mappings

What's ahead of Mapping Art ?

Mapping is nothing new in digital arts, even if this part of digital creation is only a few years old. First of all, what is mapping ? An enthusiastic Wikipedia contributor said: Video Projection Mapping is an exciting new projection technique that can turn almost any surface into a dynamic video display. Specialized software is used to warp and mask the projected image to make it fit perfectly on irregularly shaped screens. When done right, the end result is a dynamic projection installation that transcends ordinary video projection. Globally, this wikipedia contributor is right.

Video Mapping is a technique that enables to show some visual animated images on a screen which can be something not white and flat. The second step of mapping was to play with this relief during the show, to create optical illusions for example. There are plenty of this kind of mapping online. We recently spoke about 1024architecture, one of the best mapping artists.

However, artists are always looking for new ways to use technology... and video-mapping softwares and tools seem very inspiring. So, here is our selection, several tracks digital artists are exploring, with two trends : small painting-like artworks and interactive installations.


The interactive mapping

Interactive settings that show someone's gestures are nothing new, and neither is videomapping, but videomapping showing gestures in a very embedded way is quite new, technically impressive, and interesting. The way the building structure is used for the live animation allow us to look forward to this part of video-mapping. (More about this project creators : CADET )

A more interactive system which combines video-mapping on walls but also on the one experiencing the system, by including the person in its environment. Indeed, the one experiencing this system is not mapped like a wall but becomes the source of the whole system : his hand works like a flashlight !
(More about these creators : 
Kimchi and Chips )

The interactivity may work in another way. Since the video-projection is relaying on the audience point of view, it is crucial that the system remains well located or the viewer will feel as if the show was not addressed to him. Hence this project to have a projection system which always suits to the viewer location and point of view. Here, you are the viewer since the projection follows the camera location.
(More about the Sony realtime projection mapping creators : Marshmallow Laser Feast)

There are a lot of other examples of interactive video-mapping, the three we selected are clear to understand and to introduce the future of this art. If you have other examples relevant for interactive video-mapping, feel free to send it ! 

The small painting-like artworks

Another track followed by digital creators is a video-mapping freed from a pre-existing structure. Many video-mapping are made on monuments, to enhance architecture creations. This is a amazing and not exhausted material. However, some creators feel like leaving this boundary and work on both the video projection and the structure it is projected on. The firsts architecture-freed artists worked in collaboration with musical artists to create live show for concerts. Most famous ones are the Cube Show of Etienne de Crecy with 1024architecture and Amon Tobin ISAM show. 


They have not built monuments for their video-mapping shows yet. Some of them work on small scale structure, as big as a canvas. This size and sameness with paintings create a surprising feeling, like if we were facing a new idea of a white canvas, enabling a new way of causing feelings, of awaking sensibility.

Here is a first example with quite a long show, on a 3D triangular structure. Each chapter of the show produces a new feeling out of the structure.
(More details about this project and his creator Jacques-André Dupont)

This other example of small canvas-like video-mapping shows is a more complete one since it is a whole gallery fulfilled with 3D mapped-canvas. An experience that creates strange moves, spaces and deepness in these rooms. (an exhibition of Refik Anadol artworks) 

Other work also on a bigger scale format : a structure which can welcome all the devices (and the artists) to be mapped from inside. This project, Xform, is developed by XLRproject, a collective (member of the Digitalarti Community) and will be presented for the very first time from 11th to 14th of July for Fêtes Escales Festival.

Here again, there are a lot of other examples, feel free to send yours. We are always missing and searching great creations.

The last point which has to be said is that all those example can be created with not so expensive or complicated soft and hardware. This democratization of the 3D video-mapping tools is another great news for this art future.