Manuel Engels from URBANSCREEN explains how the buildings come alive
URBANSCREEN is specialized in site-specific projections, with a special focus on the architecture. We developed the technique we call ‘Lumentektur’ (a combination of lumen and architecture) ourselves as it still uses a lot of different disciplines. But beside the technical possibilities it became an approach that - with regards to content - combines aspects from theatre, cinema and video art. We are heading for the so called “virtual theatre” that hijacks the architecture by using the façade as a unique screen. It´s a special moment when the projection merges with the elements and characteristics of the building – and it is important to know how to realize such an effect by using adequate stylistic devices.
We found that the combination of a real façade in addition with a ‘virtual skin’ really makes a difference. As the façade becomes the stage itself and merges with the projection, the art / effects take place for real - this approach really attracts the audience as it is authentic and surprising – the known architecture is suddenly alive. This can be used in commercial purpose as well but it should be reflected what will amaze the spectators. Urbanscreen therefore experiments with a lot of different instruments – such like real artists and dancers, 3D-design, graphics, real time elements .. and we even casted real ‘ants’ in order to break down a façade (production ‘Insektion’) .
Our site-specific projection approach is mainly artificial – therefore we appreciate a charming ‘marketing placement’ rather than the screaming direct one. The development of the productions normally evolves basically from the architecture, the location itself (especially when it comes to technical needs and convenience for the audience) and of course the marketing purpose. This altogether will lead to an interesting concept and amazing story where the façade becomes a unique screen.
When it comes to creativity - I think we track for a unique but expanded register of ideas and techniques (as we already casted ants for breaking down the house / interactivity / real artists climbing which really fascinates / live and pre-produced painting / games / 360 degree projections etc.).
Two other basic thoughts - there are advantages if the façade:
- is not too dark (otherwise you need more ansi-lumen)
- is kind of interesting (this sounds subjective but there are facades that fit better for story-telling than other - some have nice features / structure you can pick up and use).
- is not entirely glass. You can't project on glass parts properly without preparing it from the inside or outside.