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  • 3D Architectural Projection, Light Wall
  • Suk Chon (bio), Hohyun Lee (bio), and Joonsung Yoon (bio)

This paper introduces the 3D architectural projection project Light Wall projected onto the Seoul Museum of Art building (Fig. 1). On the façade of this over-100-year-old building, 3D animated art work is projected calculating and using the complicated contour as a part of the 3D artwork. The decorative façade is not suitable for a normal projection, but the project pronounces loudly the traditional façade using digital-based registration technology. This project does not tone down the physical specificities for the virtual image, but makes reality intermix with the virtual 1.

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Fig. 1.

PERFORMATIVE & MIOON, Light Wall, 2009.

(© J. Yoon)

The building, the Seoul Museum of Art, had been the Supreme Court building since 1895; it became the museum in 2002 and was registered as a national treasure in 2006. The building was renovated except for the façade because of its historical value as a representation of Korean modern architecture. Usual beam projection for these decorative contours of the building was not possible, and we used different methods for the projection. This project, however, does not ignore the traditional figure of modern architecture. Rather, the project emphasizes on the traditional façade using digital-based registration technology with 4 networked PCs, 3 DLP projectors and the architectural projection software (VVVV, multipurpose toolkit) 2. 2D animation was made by the artist group MIOON, and PERFORMATIVE transformed the work into the 3D work.

Architectural Projection

Architectural projection is a way to project video or image on the surface of real buildings or 3D objects rather than rectangular screens.

The Image Mill (2008) in Quebec is one example: a large projection of images and films on the grain silos of the Quebec Harbor 3. Another example is 555 KUBIK (2009) in Hamburg, Germany: on the façade of the Hamburg Kunsthalle, moving images and animations were projected 4. Compared to Light Wall, those two projects were bigger, and the realization was done by separate companies. On the other hand, Light Wall has a few distinctive characteristics. One is that the project is done collaboratively between the artist and the technologist from the preliminary phase. Second, the project used open source software, which is free to use for non-commercial uses, and leads to a low budget. Third, the building structure is relatively complicated, figurative and modern, traditional and historical.

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Fig. 2.

Simulated screen.

(© J. Yoon)

There are several technical issues. The first issue is the projection-mapping. The actual structures of buildings are all different and unique, and video should be produced for the projection in real time. The second issue is the virtual light and its shadow simulation. Before the projection project, the building should be simulated as 3D modeling to produce the virtual lighting and its shadow. In this issue, the camera tracking technology and the technology for getting the background's geometrical information make the process automatic. The third issue is the hand drawing animation. Following the figure and contour of the building, pre-designed animation should be prepared. Finally, in the phase of live projection, the input animation is projected in real time (Fig. 2).

If the image is two dimensional and still, the projection is relatively easy, but when the image is animation source, it should be manipulated and reproduced in 3D because of the actual building.

Process of the Light Wall Project

The building's decorative window panes, arch-shape gates, layered façade, etc. are real 3D objects, and the work projected was a 3D animated moving image (Fig. 3). The artwork uses the building structure in depth, by using actual windows, gates, walls and pillars as the background. The working process had several steps. Before the process, measuring the building structure and analysis of the structure were done, because the old building did not have any kind of digital design form, only a basic drawing for the renovation.

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Fig. 3.

Façade of Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea.

(© J. Yoon)

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Additional Information

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pp. 172-173
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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