In this year’s Applied Arts Photography/Illustration Awards, the work of Vancouver’s Switch United (then Switch Interactive) won in the illustration category for their interactive piece as part of the Vancouver Olympics. Intrigued, we decided to ask Catherine Winckler, creative director at Switch, and art director/illustrator Myron Campbell to give a bit of background about their winning installment.
The Digital Gateway involved bringing together a team of developers, art directors, illustrators and animators to piece together 15 projectors spanning a corridor. The objective was to have the wall “react” as corporate visitors walked down the hallway it spanned with illustrated stories of local and regional innovation and success.
As Winckler explains,”We knew from the start that the biggest challenges facing the project wouldn’t necessarily be spatial ones, but political as the project involved both the province and the federal Western Diversification Fund. How would we get political agreement on content? Whose grain elevator to be used? Which vineyard? Which technology company? Whose deep-sea terminal? And so we decided early on to use illustration rather than photography to tell the story of business sector success in the four western provinces. ”
“The Digital Gateway involved 45 infrared sensors that reacted along the 110 ft. long passageway to visitor movement, sending messages to five computes and 15 projectors to ‘paint’ the digital canvas with the 15 pairs of animations that appear randomly, growing an morphing as people pass by. The more people, the more activity and intensity of the lines and textural overlays.”
Campbell adds that “We concentrated on the experience of people moving through the space. That the experience would be lifeless until someone stepped foot in the hall. If you stopped walking, it would stop too. The people are the fuel. Every mark, every line, every color had meaning. Seemingly abstract shapes were traced directly from a map of Western Canada in the shape of regional boundaries, lakes, rivers and islands. The lines represent every possible mode of travel (wire, air, water, land, rail) ”
Additional images are available after the jump along with an embedded vimeo video showcasing the installation in action plus some work-in-progress shots documenting and explaining the project.