Wolfe Center for the Arts comes to life through video projection

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Audiences usually come to Bowling Green State University’s new Wolfe Center for the Arts and its Fine Arts Center to see what’s inside, but this Sunday (Sept. 23), most of the action will be taking place on the exterior walls and surfaces of the two buildings. Students and faculty will be creating collaborative video projections this weekend that will be exhibited to the public from 8-9:30 p.m. Sunday. The two buildings will be “activated” inside and out using 3-D projection mapping, a popular new strategy for transforming architectural spaces with moving imagery customized to the space.

The exhibition will be the result of a weekend workshop, “Project Projection,” led by visiting artist Diana Reichenbach, a Los Angeles-based multimedia artist. Reichenbach is an art director at StandardVision, a company specializing in LED lighting design and content for large-scale media facades. She has also screened works in festivals and produced installations in public spaces all over the world.

Organized by BGSU faculty members Drs. Heather Elliott-Famularo, chair of the digital arts division in the School of Art, and Thomas Castillo, an assistant professor of film, the collaborative workshop will bring together digital arts and film production faculty and students in the creation of the projects.

“The artists choose a section of a building and digitally map it, then create animated graphics to project upon it,” Elliott-Famularo explained. “They can be live action, abstract video, 2-D or 3-D animation, or a combination,” she said.

Students enrolled in a newly designed, interdisciplinary course, “Media Synthesis: Time, Space, Image,” co-taught by Castillo and Elliott-Famularo have for the first time the opportunity to work together, bringing their diverse skills in filmmaking and digital arts into the classroom and the workshop. “Project Projection” is designed to embrace a variety of approaches including film and video, photography, animation, graphic design and motion graphics.

“The unique architecture of the Wolfe Center for the Arts has inspired us to explore new creative possibilities,” Castillo remarked. “I am very excited to learn about this new technique and put it into action.

“The Wolfe Center and the Fine Arts Center represent very different ‘canvases’ on which to project work,” Elliott-Famularo said. Designed by the Norwegian firm Snøhetta, the Wolfe Center has a sleek, minimalist aesthetic with a linear quality and slanted lines. The Fine Arts Center is more faceted, with contrasting brick and metal surfaces. “They present different challenges,” she noted.

“Students in both departments are accustomed to exploring time-based media but do not often consider space and how videos can be installed publicly,” she said. “By looking at the buildings not just as functional spaces but also as surfaces, students are not only able to build their skills but also create really powerful artworks to be shared with the public.”

Reichenbach will also give a public lecture at 6 p.m. Monday (Sept. 24) as part of the School of Art’s ARTalks Series. She will discuss “Immersive Space as a Channel for Communication” in 204 Fine Arts Center. For more information, see the artist's website: http://dianareichenbach.com.

The Project Projection workshop is supported by a BGSU Faculty Development Grant, The School of Art and the Department of Theatre and Film.

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(Posted September 21, 2012 )