[Best of 2014] The Year in Projection Mapping

Watchers look on as MGNTRN, Romain Tardy's projection-mapped ferris wheel, comes alive.

In 2014, projection mapping was amplified: the effects became more detailed, the visuals more electrifying, and the canvases got even bigger. From Flying Lotus’s animated performance sculpture, to Refik Anadol’s immersive media environments, and even to EDM stage design, we saw the medium revitalize the concert experience. Artists experimented with projecting images onto sculptures, human faces, and multiple screens at once, as well as manipulating projections in real-time. Just a few years ago, projection mapping was a fairly new medium for artists. In 2014, however, there was plenty of evidence to show that the practice has taken a firm, lasting hold in digital art.

This is the Year in Projection Mapping:

A giant ferris wheel in Puebla, Mexico became starfields, black holes, and retro-futuristic spaceships.

+ In September, we celebrated Bucharest's 555th anniversary by projection mapping a 60,000sq. ft wall

Refik Anadol, Visions of America: Amériques 

+ Refik Anadol emblazoned the interior architecture of the LA Gehry Concert Hall with a spectacular digital tapestry.

+ We talked to Strangeloop and Timeboy about how they created Flying Lotus's epic performance sculpture, Layer³.

OMOTE / REAL-TIME FACE TRACKING & PROJECTION MAPPING from something wonderful on Vimeo.

+ In August, our jaws dropped as we watched a model’s face morph with makeup made of light.

+ We were sucked into alien portals of wood and light, and immersed in the “acidic oceanic imagery” of irrigation pipes in 3D.

+ Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House appeared to be floating in the night air.

+ An empty 112-meter-high gas tank became the cylindrical stage for a colossal light installation.

+ We looked at digital artist Roberto Fazio’s body of work, which included a 3D grid stretched across two screens, and the Palazzo Capitaniato cloaked in virtual collages.

+ Real-time graphics were projected onto four cardboard boxes in an experiment by Raven Kwon.

Shooting Stars, 2014. Image courtesy of Filipe Vilas-Boas

Shooting stars from text messages lit up the interior of a French Gothic church of Saint-Eustache, Paris.

+ Trees transformed into ancient native gods in Parque México, and the Sydney Opera House became the canvas for “a cosmic life story.”

GIF by Beckett Mufson, via

+ Earlier this month, singer Emmy Curl used projection to replicate her face for her music video for “Come Closer” 

+ We were on hand when the 169-year-old Gallier Hall in New Orleans got a colorful facelift during a celebration of the city’s culture.

+ We walked on virtual fabric that rippled, caught holographic fish, and dived into geometric vortexes.

Universe of Water Particles Under Satellite’s Gravity, teamLab. via

A digital waterfall cascaded onto a satellite and smoke bubbles carried messages for aliens from kids.

+ Back in February, we were careful not to prick our fingers after AntiVJ projected onto cacti.

+ We learned how to projection map an entire islandan elephant, and a 30-foot skull.

Nimbes, an A/V installation by Joanie Lemercier and James Ginzburg. via

+ And last but definitely not least, a projection-mapped audiovisual installation invited us to explore a digitized forest inside Montreal's Satosphére dome.

This is part 13 of our end-of-the-year series. Stay tuned as we continue to look back on 2014 and collect all of our favorite examples of modern creativity, fantastic innovations, and important trends.

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