Mission To Cuenca

Projection on the serpent body.

I went on a mission to Cuenca, Ecuador just lately. Clay Bodine, one of the founders of Fishbon, and former board member, Laura Inks-Bodine, moved down there last year. They’d set up Fishbon Del Sur and were putting on their first full-blown event.
I brought down three old projectors to leave there and some lighting and other equipment.
The goal was to learn how Cuenca worked and try to meet local artists and work with them. It all happened. Together with Lakomuna,Kym Cochran and myself, we created a serpent that snaked through Clay and Laura’s courtyard. The three projectors shone close-up footage of Ethan Turpin’s Video Feedbacteria along the Serpent’s body as way of making abstract snakeskin. What was really cool was that the imagery projected through the material to the other side. This helped pull the piece together.

insideTheSerpentInside the body.


The Lakomuna serpent head.

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Starfield Galaxy

Starfield Galaxy at Lucidity 2014 from JOn Smith on Vimeo.

The theme for the 2014 Lucidity Festival was “Universe”. As the head of ambient lighting for the festival, I wanted to make an abstract of a galaxy for part of the main roadway. It needed to be at least 200 feet long and give the sense of millions of stars. I looked over a variety of options then Jonah Haas, one of the founders of the Festival, hooked me up with me up with Bruce Beeley of I knew about the type of lasers he had and got very excited. Bruce agreed to bring 7 Sprights and 5 LS20Gs. The former make static starfields, the latter create slowly moving starfields. I knew that if I set them up just right the moving lasers would make everything feel like it was in motion. In order to place the lasers in the best locations, I had my crew strap five 30′-40′ lengths of Bamboo (thank you Bamboo DNA) into the surrounding trees so their ends poked out over the middle of the road. We strapped the lasers to these and literally flooded the entire length of road with points of green light.

I knew that when a vehicle went through it the ensuing dust would make it three dimensional. When Bruce told me he’d also brought up a powerful hazer that would create this effect..well, I was overjoyed. On Saturday and Sunday nights we set it up. The results were…and I don’t use the word lightly…awesome! I got my galaxy and then some.

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The Font: Experiments with Sound and Water

The Font: Experiments with Sound and Water from JOn Smith on Vimeo.

When artist Carlos Padilla described himself as a sound sculptor, he immediately got our attention. The following week we met with him and started experimenting with his sculpture, The Font.

It should be noted that the imagery of Faraday waves in this movie are completely raw with no filters or other modifications.

The next step is to find the right surfaces to project the waves on to. I can hardly wait.

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Test Projections on Rocks at Joshua Tree

Tests Projections on Rocks at Joshua Tree National Park from JOn Smith on Vimeo.

Curiosity is strange animal. “Hey, David, let’s go to Joshua Tree and bring some projectors.” I wanted to see what large rounded desert rocks would look like with water textures and other types of imagery projected on to their surfaces. After two days and one night of hardcore hiking in the far eastern part of the park, we went through the main entry after dark and found some suitable rocks. When the right imagery worked, it was jaw dropping.

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Projections on a Blue Whale Skeleton

Projecting on a Blue Whale Skeleton from JOn Smith on Vimeo.

A couple of weekends ago Ethan Turpin and myself projected black and white water imagery on to the blue whale skeleton at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. It was a test to see what would happen and, boy, did it ever happen!

We need to do it again so more people can see it rather than just the two of us. It was unbelievably cool.

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