Assessment 2: Critical Reflection

Within the rationale that was presented to our class in our initial briefing of this final assignment, the opening sentence was integral in our understanding of how to approach this project. “The focus of this subject is on the development of your practice and a crucial part of this development involves learning together and working collaboratively” (Assessment 3 Rational, 2016). A key word that stuck out in this rational was ‘collaboratively’. Conducting further research on this term, I can come to the understanding that:

Collaborative learning is based on the view that knowledge is a social construct. Collaborative activities are most often based on four principles (Cornell University, 2016)

  • The learner or student is the primary focus of instruction.
  • Interaction and “doing” are of primary importance
  • Working in groups is an important mode of learning.
  • Structured approaches to developing solutions to real-world problems should be incorporated into learning.

With this gained understanding, our team set out the goal of making a continual and collaborative effort of developing our project over the final weeks.

Projection Mapping uses everyday video projectors, but instead of projecting on a flat screen (e.g. to display a PowerPoint), light is mapped onto any surface, turning common objects of any 3D shape into interactive displays (Jones, B 2015).

Focusing on this area of projection mapping, our group explored the construct of an object through projection mapping, creating an element of illusion. Our final work explores the abstract idea of ‘entrapment’ and ‘fear’, depicting a man who appears to be both mentally and physically trapped in an unescapable box. In supporting the projection, there is a haunting echo from within the box of the man’s helpless cries and laughter, highlighting his unstable mental state, further reinforcing his entrapment. The footage of the trapped man is dark and eerie, with only a small amount of soft, portrait lighting highlighting the man’s facial struggles. The choice in this lighting was purposeful in empathising the man’s isolation from the outside world. In viewing the projection, the viewer is presented a multi-faced perspective of the man, eliminating the perception that he is in actual fact trapped in the box, however, creating a more accurate representation of the mans isolation struggles.

An interactive installation by Bego Santiago called ‘Little Boxes’ acted as a major point of influence for our final work. Bego’s installation is a Kinect driven projection mapping art installation where tiny people projected onto wooden boxes are terrified of your presence (Bego M. Santiago, 2013). This work addresses very similar themes to our own work, however, instead of exploring the self fear of entrapment, her work reflects fear within society.

The work is made up of a number of small boxes featuring projections of individuals on the face of each box. What makes this work more is the added interaction between the artwork and the viewer. When someone approaches the little boxes, the projected people stare up timidly; as the viewer walks past, the people start screaming and running away, deathly afraid of anything outside their comfort zone (Bego M. Santiago, 2013). As a way of reflecting this work in our own, we aimed at using projection mapping much like Sego, in exploring the notion of fear that individual’s can relate to; in this case, entrapment.

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In tackling projection mapping, a medium of installation that none of us have any particular experience with, we encountered many difficulties along the way. The use of VPT 7 software proved to be quite a challenge in mastering, giving us headaches with it’s technical mapping steps. Another issue we encountered that limited us on occasions was the positioning and syncing of the two projectors. Connecting the two projectors with the computer so that they would project a split screen proved to be a timely issue to solve. In combination with this, the resolution of the projection on the smaller faces of the object required plenty of deliberation on how to counter this effect. With this said, we were able to overcome these issues with a bit of persistence, learning multiple ways in order to avoid these problems in our later lab sessions.

Our final manifestation of the project ended up being slightly different to our initial imagined outcome, that was chopped and changed along the development process due to the multitude of constraints that we were presented. The main constraint that held us back was our inexperience and lack of knowledge with the software and projection mapping. If we were to have more time working on this project, it would have been nice to add that extra element of interaction with the viewer through using an arduino; possibly sensing the viewers movements in which the projection would try and communicate with them for help. This being said, I believe that the final outcome was a success, creating an optical illusion through the exploration of the fear of being trapped.

This experience with projection mapping has been an informative one to say the least. Having little to no experience with this medium of installation, I can say that I am walking out of this subject with a confident understanding of projection mapping. I believe that with the given chance of working with projection mapping again, I would try and challenge myself further with the creation of an interactive projection installation through the use of an arduino.

This knowledge of projection mapping was great for my trip to Sydney Vivid, as I was able to better understand how each work was created and how it functions.

 

References:

Cornell University (2016), ‘Collaborative Learning: Group Work’, Cornell University Centre for Teaching Excellence, 

< http://www.cte.cornell.edu/teaching-ideas/engaging-students/collaborative-learning.html >

Bego M. Santiago, 2013, ‘Little Boxes’, Vimeo, 

<http://www.begomsantiago.com/LITTLE-BOXES >

Jones, B 2015, ‘What is projection mapping?’, Project Mapping Central, 

http://projection-mapping.org/whatis/ >