Forget Paint, Turn The Side of Your Building into a Video Screen

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Bored by your office’s cold clammy exterior? Then you need to get a hold of the guys at Urbanscreen. This German company uses enormous projectors and a lot of design skill to transform cityscapes into mind blowing art installations. Their latest project in Hamburg adorned an art museum (the Kunsthalle) and had crowds cheering and applauding on the streets. Cheering an art installation? Either Germans are crazier than I thought or Urbanscreen has hit on something big. Watch the video after the break and judge for yourself (cheering not included).

Say goodbye to boring buildings with enormouse art installations from Urbanscreen
Say goodbye to boring buildings with art installations from Urbanscreen

If this trend catches on, we could see entire cities changed at night into evolving art spaces. With the sagging economy, artists are clamoring for grants and jobs…so why not combine that need with a little urban renewal? The Kunsthalle installation was based on the question: “What would a building dream?” That sounds esoteric, but the project came out very crowd-pleasing. A city-wide project might have the same great combination of artistic merit and public appeal. And it would certainly boost tourism.

But maybe that’s thinking too small. We’ve talked about Total Immersion’s Augmented Reality technology, and how it can combine recorded and synthetic images in real time. Mix AR with building-scale projectors and you could have a city with one foot in virtual reality. The creative potential is staggering. Of course we’ll probably see most buildings turned into billboards, but that might be a small price to pay to live in an interactive urban playground.

As far as I can tell, the technology is pretty basic: mammoth projectors, cameras, and hours upon hours of work on a computer. For all that effort, I’m surprised that the installation only lasted a short time. I might have left the thing up permanently. I should point out that Urbanscreen and the Kunsthalle installation are far from unique. Many artists have projected images onto 3D shapes before. Pablo Valbuena actually did a very similar installation in the Netherlands. As a general trend though, this is pretty cutting edge. And it looks awesome. What more do you want? I look forward to the possibility of traveling down my street and watching the buildings dream.