The City Revisited – The City Projected
It was a lucky happenstance moment that got us involved with the Culture Tech 2013 Festival. We were checking out the locations for our billboards a couple of months ago in Ebrington Square and bumped into Mark and Rachel, the two organisers of the festival. They’d just seen our work on the BBC and said they had a spare projector. We put two and two together and the seeds of an idea were sowed.
It was a hectic few months leading up to the festival, but we had firm ideas in our heads. We wanted to project our images onto something the city could identify with; something that formed an integral part of the city. The work involves rephotographing iconic scenes from around the city with a large format, 5″ x 4″ camera (similar to that used 100 years ago) and merging our photograph with the original. We can show the passage of time and the changes that have occurred over the last 100 years ago, in one image. So what could be better than to project those images onto the city’s 400 year old walls?
The projectors that we had been offered had already been well tested around the city. We’d seen them previously used at the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend where they projected the video display for Calvin Harris’ set onto the Ebrington clock tower. So we knew they were up to the job. We just had to put together a slideshow or animation that would keep people interested and show some captivating images that people would recognise. This was all at the same time as preparing the prints for display at Stormont, as well as helping to install the billboards at Ebrington! Neither of us had ever been so busy as we were for those few weeks.
To make the animation more interesting to watch and not have that ‘Powerpoint’ corporate feel, we used Adobe’s Premiere Pro to produce the final edit of images, which helped with some slick transitions between images, as well as making it relatively straightforward to include a countdown video to jazz it up a bit.
The guys from Culture Tech put us in touch with people from Derry City Council and ILEX who all came together to provide the power and a van on the day, then all we had to do was test it and set it up on the day!
We were delighted that freelance journalist Will Burton had an article published in the Irish Times on the day of the festival, describing Culture Tech and showcasing our work. That evening several people arrived saying they came to see us because of that article, so thanks, Will!
The slideshow ran from 8-10pm on September 14th at the Guildhall Square, with the Guildhall building towering over us. People walked past from Waterloo Place and Foyle Road and it was great to see how many of them stopped and watched the slideshow. It lasted for just over 5 minutes, but people seemed to see something new every time it looped. Teenagers loved interacting with the projection making shadow signs, we even had a skateboarder who ollied for us as he went past. Older people stopped to tell us they recognised scenes from the pictures, of buildings long since gone, of where they worked or socialised.
We’ve posted a few pictures from the slideshow below, which give a good feel for what the projection involved. I had in my head an idea of the 19th Century photographers William Lawrence, Robert French and James Glass all looking down on us, with our version of the old magic lanterns creating mysterious shapes and patterns on the old city walls. So I hope in some way they’d be pleased.
Images of the projections are credit Chris Rodgers unless otherwise stated.