A Postcard to Erie from Prague : A Guest Blog by Jessica Taylor

Monday Dec 12th, 2022

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Postcard to Erie from Prague

A guest blog by Jessica Taylor
Managing Partner | Producer | Director

Without light, life on Earth would cease to exist. Lighting sets the scene, affects our mood, allows us to see objects and colors. In its most basic form, art is the first way in which humans tried to capture light. This leveled up with the advent of camera technology - projectors as the paintbrush and screens as the canvas. I have always been fascinated by this, hence why I got into filmmaking. It’s hard to imagine what the next phase of this evolution could be, but I do believe that it’s here. This is why I decided to travel to the 10th annual Signal Festival in Prague, Czech Republic (along with a cohort of fellow Erieites) to see one of the best displays of this new technology in person.

Signal Fest features artists work in the fields of lighting design, visual and digital art, artificial intelligence, and conceptual art. This citywide exhibition utilizes a variety of spaces from inside churches to public spaces. It was a great way for us to experience a new city by following the festival map to parts of town that I may never have gone to otherwise. 

We got to see a variety of art displays that pushed the boundaries of what I thought possible in these mediums. Kinetic sculptures with LED lights danced to music in parks. Old architecture reimagined through large scale lighting displays. Each exhibit was more unique and inventive than the next. 

The installation that we came to see most, did not disappoint. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. This was the video mapping show projected on the Basilica of St. Ludmila by the French artist collective AV Extended. The show was accompanied by the music of Czech music producer Aid Kid, thus cultivating a fully immersive sensory experience. The video projection mapping show was played on a loop, bringing in a new crowd every fifteen minutes. 

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Video projection mapping is a relatively recent art that has only been developed over the past decade or so. It is done by using a special computer software to outline 3D objects through the lens of a video projector allowing the artist to project whatever visual content they create onto the object. Examples of installations that use this technique include: The Immersive Van Gogh Experience, Box, and video mapping the Parliament Building in Bucharest. Some installations enhance the immersive experience by incorporating sound design or music into the show. The art of video mapping is about creating a visual experience that digitally interacts with real 3D objects. And that object matters just as much as the video itself.

I have never been a part of a collective visual artistic experience on this large of a scale. The impermanence of the display made it all the more magical. Never again can that experience be created in exactly the same way. Something so transient, that cannot be fully captured or recreated. You had to be there in person. Harnessing light for this type of expression in this perspective made me realize how limitless light as an art form can be. 

Soon you won’t have to travel as far as Prague to see something like this. A few months ago, my husband and Menajerie Studio business partner, Nick Taylor, BOTH Studios owner Brad Triana, and I decided to team up and form a new entity: Liquid Light Factory. We are currently developing a permanent video mapped sculpture display that will be located in the soon-to-be newly renovated EMI site on 12th and Cherry. If you wish to see a sneak preview of what this is going to look like, check out our pop up installation on December 16th from 7pm-9pm at FEED Media Art Center 1307 State Street, Erie, PA. 

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