07.07.12

Projector-powered art installation smashes World Record

An art installation that projected animated mosaic portraits of Queen Elizabeth II on to Buckingham Palace in April has scooped a Guinness World Record for the most artists working on the same art installation.

Projection Studio, headed by visual artist Ross Ashton, designed and created the video artwork featuring 32 animated mosaic portraits.

The ‘Face Britain’ project was instigated by The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts and brought to life by PhotoBox and involved more than 200,000 children.

Creative Technology (CT) supplied 24 Barco and Panasonic 18K and 20K video projectors to create the video montage.

Children aged four to sixteeen were invited to produce their own self-portraits by Face Britain encompassing all levels of skill and in any medium, including drawing, photography, textiles, painting and graphics. These were uploaded to PhotoBox.

Ashton worked with Moscow-based Boris Glazer to create a bespoke version of his Mazaika software to encode all the photos and then compose the 32 images of The Queen from the 200,000 or so self-portraits that were submitted.

Ashton specifically wanted to see the individual photos making up each portrait montage flying together as they formed onto the fascia of the building.

When compositing the 32 portraits into the 32 minute long video file which runs as a loop, Ashton treated each individual portrait of the Queen as a separate colour way, containing 6,400 children’s portraits. This enabled him to get the desired movement effect.

The template portrait of The Queen was supplied by the Sun newspaper’s royal photographer, Arthur Edwards.

Ashton worked closely with CT’s Scott Burgess to design the projection system and CT supplied all the hardware including weatherised hides and crew for the installation. The projectors were placed as unobtrusively as possible behind the pillars of the Palace’s front wall.

The video was run via a Dataton Watchout control system programmed by Dave Boeck.

The overall image covering the Palace was 110 metres wide and 25 metres tall. Filling the spaces around the actual Queen’s head portraits were a series of animated backgrounds and other picture frames.

In addition to the Buckingham Palace projections, the 32 portraits were simultaneously shown for 24 hours on BBC Big Screens in 18 public locations across the UK.