Video Mapping: a new opportunity for Urban Arts?
A large-scale retrospective recently celebrated Hip Hop in Paris and HeavyM was invited to get involved. For the occasion, HeavyM and Büro23 collaborated to create a giant sculpture with a previously unseen video mapping installation. The MEMO exhibition presented a series of multidisciplinary artworks and took visitors on an immersive journey that aimed to discuss the place of hip hop and its memories in today’s society. Throwback to the event:
The organizers: two major actors of Urban Culture
RStyle is an organisation that was founded in 2001 in Paris and aims to introduce the public to new, unique approaches to urban cultures. It also supports young talents and helps them achieve their goals and dreams. RStyle organises frequent events and training sessions, manages urban artists and runs the Multimedia Library for Urban Cultures, which gathers more than 3.000 documents. In 2015, Jamel Debbouze claimed his support for the organisation and hip hop music in general, saying the genre “comes from the street and only revolves around noble values”.
La Place is a cultural centre that is completely dedicated to hip hop. It has been supported by the city of Paris since 2008 and was inaugurated in spring 2016, under the Canopée des Halles in the city centre. To carry out its efforts towards transmission and support for artists, La Place has a large concert venue, a broadcasting studio, an incubator, sound and video production studios and an artist studio dedicated to street art and graffiti.
For the MEMO exhibition, RStyle and La Place have decided to showcase the hip hop movement throughout the prism of all its different energies, using installations that combined videos, sound recordings, ambient sound, photography and… video mapping! This is where we come in to play.
«Question mark », by HeavyM and Büro23
In 2014, during its participation in the CENTQUATRE – PARIS incubator, the HeavyM team got to meet François Gautret, RStyle’s president. He showed a lot of interest in the software and invited the team to participate in a hip hop jamming session with graffiti artist JayOne. They teamed up to work on a performance that involved graffiti and video mapping. In September 2017, as the artistic director of MEMO, François offered Etienne the chance to work on an emblematic piece for the exhibition. The idea was to surprise visitors at the end of the exhibition by showcasing a selection of strong images from the hip hop movement. Etienne thought this was a perfect occasion to give a new dimension to the Olga kit. Therefore, they cooperated with Büro23 to create an installation that would question the heritage of hip hop in today’s world. Remember Büro23, the agency was founded by Mike Martin, who happens to be the one who designed the Olga kit. You can read our interview with him right here!
Together and using 4 Olga kits (that’s 120 equilateral triangles!), they co-created a gigantic sculpture that was shaped like an exclamation mark. The structure was used to display scenes from the urban film festival. Here, video mapping creates a patchwork of shapes and colours where hip hop comes to life.
It is interesting to note that Olga, which is normally considered to be a decorative object, became such a big part of an artistic and conceptual project that comes close to contemporary art.
Video mapping : a new technology for Urban Arts?
Since the beginning of the 2010s, video mapping has been expanding the public’s perception of street art and has been becoming more ubiquitous in that field. In times where a 4.0 world is being born, the fronteers between the physical and digital worlds have been blurring more and more. To the point, in fact, that a new term has been coined: “phygital”. Video mapping and its uses in urban art have a playful approach to that situation and are able to produce truly immersive experiences on the street.
Following this new movement that aims to come up with new ways to create art, Dutch collective WERC has recently launched a new project called Augmented Reality Graffiti. It makes it possible to create infinite variations out of a combination of 5 graffitis, using augmented reality and video mapping.
Projet Augmented Reality Graffiti
To surprise city dwellers where they least expect it, British studio Urban Projections has come up with a new tool to do street art: the Light Cycle. This bike is equipped with an extremely powerful projector, a sound system, an iPad and a battery.
How can one, in the middle of the street, surprise people by stimulating their imagination and provoking emotions? That question is the topic that French visual experiences studio Le3 is trying to investigate. We still remember their powerful metaphor of a urban jungle in Paris:
Video-mapping acts like an amplifier for the messages of street art and is a true digital design tool that can easily be customised. Video mapping is probably going to keep contributing to the rebirth of the urban landscape and will continue to provide new sensations and emotions while leaving a mark on people’s mind—rather than on the walls!
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