WorldStage (the new brand for Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications) provided extensive AV support for an innovative installation in New York City's six-acre Madison Square Park where Dutch artist Jacco Olivier's stop-motion animations brighten the park's winter landscape. Olivier photographs each stage of his creative process of painting and re-painting images of flora and fauna until the original no longer exists. The resulting stop-motion animations reveal the history behind each painting's rich color palette and highly textured style.
The exhibition, which comes to life at dusk from December 15 through March 12, 2012, is a presentation of Mad. Sq. Art, the free, contemporary art program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy. It marks the artist's first public art commission in New York City.
WorldStage was uniquely qualified to handle Olivier's project: The company has a history of supporting art installations and special events at New York City's Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum and Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art and has demonstrated expertise in outdoor art events at Art Basel Miami, MoMA and the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center.
The company previously teamed with Mad. Sq. Art on Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's interactive light installation as well as last year's installation of Scattered Light, an innovative piece by the artist, Jim Campbell. WorldStage is one of the few rental and staging companies that is willing and able to support long-term equipment rental, engineering and support for such projects.
At Madison Square Park, Olivier's images of birds, a deer, a frog, a beetle and flora are seamlessly integrated into the outdoors, displayed on screens suspended from trees, hidden in the bushes and planted in the ground. They animate life in both the park's heavily trafficked areas and quieter spots and draw parallels to their natural counterparts in the park for 50,000 daily visitors.
"It's a beautiful project," says Adam Glick of the Madison Square Park Conservancy. "Part of the challenge was where to position the six screens, how to install them and make them more than just simple displays and projections. We wanted them to be as seamless and natural as possible, and having worked with WorldStage before, we knew they would be able to artfully bring this project to completion."
"Each piece by Olivier, except for 'Bird' and 'Deer,' was designed as a self-contained, plug-and-play weatherproof module that requires little to no maintenance," explains WorldStage project manager Sarah Ibrahim. "Each enclosure is outfitted with heating and fans to maintain a safe operating temperature for the electronics and protect against condensation." Brightsign HD210 standalone media players were selected for five of the installations for their small footprint, high-quality HD imagery and, once programmed, operator-free playback.
"Deer" sports a 7.5x4-foot Stewart Filmscreen Starglas projection screen and this is the first time one has been installed outdoors. It is fed by a Panasonic PT-DZ570U 1080p 4K ANSI lumen projector housed in a Tempest Blizzard 6550 weatherproof HVAC projector enclosure; a Medialon MIP-HD media player serves as source.
"'Deer' is really my favorite piece in this installation, if only for the stellar quality of the projection and screen," says Ibrahim. "The image clarity supported by the Stewart Starglas screen and the full-HD projection enables viewers to see incredible image detail - even the brushwork in the paintings is clearly evident.
"Rabbit Hole" posed a challenge since its weatherproof enclosure is buried in the ground. "The artist wanted viewers to be able to walk on it and look down onto the piece," says Ibrahim. "We asked Cigar Box Studios to come up with a solution that was structurally sound as well as air and watertight, so condensation doesn't form on the inside of the plexiglass. The whole assembly was buried and covered with sod framing the image."
The up-in-the-air location of "Bird" required an innovative approach to signal processing using AJA HA5 and Hi5 converters for 1080i over HDSDI signal transmission from the monitor in a tree limb to the remote player some 250 feet away.
WorldStage's experience with art installations and the special requirements of outdoors proved extremely valuable "as the project evolved and went through a few different iterations," notes Adam Glick. "WorldStage was very amenable to dealing with various changes. They lent us their expertise and everything has worked out great!"
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.