AniMotion project fuses music, painting and projection

Music, painting and projection have been combined in a live performance to create a new art form in what is thought to be the world’s first event of its type. Pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with projection mapping, digital art specialist Ross Ashton collaborated with Russian artist Maria Rud to present Dark Matter – an ‘AniMotion’ live performance painting projected in giant format on to the Institute of Astronomy library in Cambridge, UK.

Ashton was approached by Rud, who had heard about his work and wanted to take AniMotion to a different level.

Ashton immediately saw the potential of her painting live onto buildings via projection, bringing the specific texturing of real materials and genuinely hand-painted 3D images to cover a surface, plus the raw emotion and edge of images unfolding in front of the audience’s eyes.

“I am hugely excited about the possibilities – this is a completely new style of live art,” said Ashton.
“The analogue quality and rich texturing brings great depth and detail to the work that engages on many levels and it looks absolutely spectacular.”

Rud paints directly onto a light-box. Ashton has devised a way of mapping the building architecture, which he then gives her as her canvas.

Before the live show, Rud was able to try out a number of ideas and establish which ones worked the best with the building details and features. They discussed the colour palettes she might use in advance, but on the night, the creation of the final three works rested almost entirely on improvisation.

During the show, the painting surface is evenly top lit and a mini-cam placed directly overhead, the output of which is fed into a laptop running Millumin - a software originally developed for VJs which can also edge blend, map and has a number of other useful and cool functions. This was fed via the DVI out to a single Panasonic DZ 21K WUXGA projector.

Rud explained: “By uniting music and painting through the art of projection, AniMotion immerses its audiences in a world of transcendence. By dissolving boundaries between art forms you reveal a whole new world and, in the process, a new art form.”