Cityscapes at night are magnificent, aren’t they? At night, a dim and dreary city can come alive with lights and activity. Lights that lines the contours of a city captivate people at night. The lights of a city can deliver a dose of energy into modern people.
City lights not only brighten the dark streets and buildings, but also create an industry for creating a completely new type of digital content. Digital content that combines culture and technology is forming a new culture and this new culture technology is gaining interest from all types of people.
Today, we will look into projection mapping, which is making a place for itself in the field of culture technology.
Culture technology creates new added value by combining technology with cultural content. It is not only appearing in lifestyle, art, culture and history, but is also infiltrating industries such as events production for promotions, fashion shows and new product releases.
Recently, projection mapping and media façade applications have risen as a culture technologies that are catching the public’s eye. Projection mapping is an method of projecting 2D and 3D images onto the front of buildings or other surfaces in public.
Projection mapping can be used in marketing fields such as digital signage and is beginning to be implemented in public space displays, exhibition spaces, concerts and fashion shows.
We met with projection mapping firm VSLAB (Visual Stage Lab) R&D director, Professor Eunkyu Kim, to learn more about this technology.
Q. Hello, can you please introduce yourself for us?
Hello. I’m Eunkyu Kim and I am a projection mapping creator. I manage various Naver Cafe sites and concerts that implement projection mapping. I also serve as an adjunct professor at the Korea University of Media Arts and I am the Director of R&D at VSLAB.
Q. Can you give us a simple explanation of what projection mapping is?
Have you ever seen digital signage or media façades before? I think everyone has seen advertising project with lights onto the front of a building or an advertising screen at a bus stop. media art management has become a vehicle for reaching people through a combination of IT.
Projection mapping is defined as technology that provides a new visual element through the projection of light to create images on a target surface.
According to the artist Namjun Beak, media art is way of expressing media as art and marketing done using projection mapping has eliminated the barrier between art and industry. Also, after many efforts, projection mapping has become a culture technology that creates a new added value that’s more than art.
Q. Is IT also needed in media art?
You may have heard of Namjun Beak’s video art. As time passes, it will be harder and harder to find the materials that went into Namjun Beak’s art. Even if you find analog monitors as were used in the past, you may not be able to use them anymore.
If the monitor doesn’t turn on, the original essence of what the artist wanted to create will be lost. It’s is difficult to produce a cathode-ray tube TV and it is not possible to convert an alder TV into a modern digital TV.
However, I think changing the monitors to modern digital monitors is the right way to go. I am of the opinion that art has changed to match our era and since it is the public who want the art, art should be created to fit the era.
These day, various multimedia education is being done at fine arts colleges and multimedia artists that have studied math and electrical engineering and stepping into the spotlight by using modern technology.
As IoT is taking over, interactive technology with sensors is becoming more important and more people can access art now. Because of this development, the importance of IT is becoming more important in art, which includes media art.
Q. What are some of the fields where projection mapping can be implemented?
Projection mapping has been implemented even in construction. Projection mapping has gone beyond simple exhibitions and has spread into various fields such as promotion, art and interior design. I imagine it will be common in our daily lives in the near future.
On a clear morning in the year 2020, a family could sit down for dinner at a table with a ‘tablecloth’ created through projection mapping. Selecting makeup designs could be done using simulation projection mapping and adverts can be personalized for individuals using iris recognition to identity people passing by.
A clothing store using simulation projection mapping to promote new products would certainly catch our eyes. Bus routes could be displayed at bus stops using digital signage and children’s pop-up books would open up a whole new world with moving images.
It seems as though there is no limit to the fields where projection mapping can be implemented because cultural content can be used in so many ways in our daily lives.
Q. What do projection mapping has in store in the future?
Media façades and projection mapping will continue to grow. The combination of all technologies will not only be implemented in simple architecture and IT media projects but will be bringing together all different industries in harmony.
Projection mapping media pieces can be found all throughout the day. One very important concept is that in the future media art will only be limited by functionality and technology. All art mediums are affected in this way, but in media art, the importance of storytelling is more demanding in order to convey the message to an audience.
Because the content is dependent on the technology and the content people view is changed on the technology, no matter what technology is used to display the content, the content loses its value without storytelling.
Even more, the focus will migrate towards interaction through media. Since the projection mapping cultural content industry is moving into the world of IoT using diverse sensors, the ability to connect with audiences through images, videos and objects is very important. People are looking for art that they get more in touch with and the interactive art industry will continue to grow.
Q. What goals do you wish to achieve going forward?
According to projections made by Gartner in 2016, the device mesh industry will continue to see growth. New platforms are continuing to emerge and device mesh will become even more important in media art as well.
In the future, I would like to use open source platforms and data to create works that have a positive influence on people. Currently, people recognize media are as something difficult. My goal is to help people identify and feel comfortable with media art through my work.
We have now examined the different fields in which projection mapping is being implemented. Projection mapping has created a new industry that combines culture with technology. Today I realized that technology is important in culture as well and I can see that culture technology has limitless possibilities.
This year, the Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Creative Content Agency announced that they will invest USD 44M into the Culture Technology R&D Support business. With increased investment and interest, projection mapping is expected to increase in popularity.
Simulation mapping will make our lives even better with applications that allow us to see how clothes will fit before we buy them and change the lighting according to the weather outside. I look forward to culture technology and projection mapping having a positive influence on people in the future!
Written by Chanho Park, LG CNS Student Reporter