Laser projection supports immersive journey through time and space
Pic: Daniel Boyd, VIDEO WORKS, 2020, Carriageworks. Image Zan Wimberley.
Carriageworks, Australia’s leading multi-arts precinct, has installed Panasonic laser projector technology to support its contemporary artistic program.
The new technology has been unveiled at the Carriageworks Summer 2020 Visual Arts Program as part of the Sydney Festival. Panasonic Australia is a Presenting Partner for VIDEO WORKS, a major installation by Sydney-based Kudjala/Gangalu artist Daniel Boyd.
Beatrice Grafton, Carriageworks Head Curator, Visual Arts, said: “Daniel Boyd’s VIDEO WORKS is an immersive journey through time and space. Ensuring the projection of the work is of the highest quality is paramount for the artist’s intention as well as the visitor experience at Carriageworks.”
A highlight of the Summer 2020 presentation, VIDEO WORKS is a composite of three significant video installations made by Daniel Boyd between 2012-18. The works – A Darker Shade of Dark #1-4 (2012); History is Made at Night (2013); and Yamani (2018) – map the walls of the gallery space with the artist’s infinite cosmos of dynamic compositions and prismatic colour.
Set to scores by Ryan Grieve and Leo Thomson (Canyons), the works commence simultaneously and continue to loop in an ever-changing sequence of image and sound.
Todd Hawken, Production Manager, Carriageworks said: “The three video artworks and two compositions create one seamless experience, which is the largest-scale presentation of the artist’s work to date. We’re extremely pleased with the final presentation, and to see viewers enjoying and responding to the artwork.”
Meeting the challenges of a gallery environment
Behind the scenes, Carriageworks selected nine Panasonic laser projectors and specialised zoom lenses to bring the artist’s vision to life.
There were a number of considerations to ensure the technology worked seamlessly in the background to deliver the best outcome. The exhibition space had its own challenges, with a low ceiling and obstructions such as large air conditioning ducts, while the cabling needed to be hidden and the projectors had to be precisely placed to avoid casting shadows on the projection surfaces.
For Carriageworks, the key elements cited for projection technology that meet the specific demands of a gallery environment are accurate colour, compact size, minimal noise, installation flexibility and low maintenance.
Laser projectors like the RZ Series are particularly suitable due to their small and versatile form factor and a low-noise fanless design. Because laser technology is lamp-less, they can effectively operate maintenance-free for the life of an exhibition.
Todd explained: “We wanted good colour fidelity and consistency to present the artworks at their best and to tie the installation together. That was what was attractive to me about the RZ Series. I first saw them used at a performance of ‘Invisible Cities’ at the Manchester International Festival where there were around 25-30 in a large warehouse space. They can also be hung at any angle, which makes them perfect for projection mapping.”
Todd added: “A compact size is crucial as larger projectors can be visually intrusive for an artwork. And, for this installation, the audio experience is key. These projectors are very quiet, which is important as the concrete walls in the exhibition space bounce sound around.”
With exhibitions open for many hours a day across 2-3 months, any need for maintenance can be disruptive and affect the visitor experience. When a conventional projector lamp fails and is replaced, the finely calibrated software mapping may need to be re-aligned, which takes time and resources. Todd explained: “We’ve gone for laser, so I’m hoping no adjustment is needed at all.”
Looking to the future
Carriageworks has purchased a total of 10 laser projectors for use across future projects as required, allowing them greater scope to ‘think bigger’ when planning, to deliver an even higher standard, and to reduce dependence on hiring equipment or borrowing from other galleries.
Its two 10,000-lumen projectors were selected to deliver more punch where needed for works or events, with the ability to maintain brightness in exhibition areas that have more ambient light.
It’s expected that the new kit will be in high demand, with projection a powerful trend across visual arts, live performance and events. Carriageworks estimates that more than half of all projects it sees have a projection element – from theatre to masterclasses and night markets.
Peter Huljich, General Manager, Media and Entertainment, Panasonic, said: “We’re proud to partner with Carriageworks and support their leading visual arts program. In Australia and around the world, Panasonic works with artists, galleries, museums, and events such as light and sound shows with the goal of bringing their vision to life. We understand that the true value of technology in these environments is to showcase creative work and enhance the audience experience.”
Daniel Boyd: VIDEO WORKS is currently exhibited at Carriageworks until March 1 2020, with free admission. Carriageworks is located at 245 Wilson Street, Redfern, Sydney.
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