“Prismatica is an extension of the visual and perceptual experimentations in my Enigmatica series,” Kit Webster writes about his newest installation. Known for his interesting approach to projection mapping (read more about the ingenius Enigmatica series here) the Australian media artist specialises in wrapping things in light. With Prismatica however he turned the technique on its head: instead of mapping animated visuals onto a 3D surface, Webster uses a 3D surface as a lens. A formidable formation of clear, pyramid-shaped crystals is affixed to an LCD screen displaying abstract, geometric animations that are “precisely mappend to the vertices of the crystals, illuminating them indiviually and in formation”. The resulting psychedelic kaleidoscope effect is a dynamic interplay of prismatic refractions through the geometry of the crystals, the reflections of surrounding lights and the shifting perspective of the observer. Very effective, very Kit Webster!
A quick Q&A with the artist revealed some curious details – and that Prismatica will only get more interesting:
Are the geometric animations illuminating the crystals generated in real-time?
Right now the piece uses a pre-rendered video file running from a media player in order to illuminate the crystals. I am currently designing a new version that uses real-time graphics.
Which tools did you use for creating the animations?
The animations are created in Flash, After Effects and Premiere Pro. Real-time self generative animations are currently being tested in vvvv, Processing and openFrameworks and could swing in any direction at this stage.
What kind of crystals did you use? Are they custom-made?
The screen lens is made up of K9 crystal pyramids, arranged in formation and affixed to the screen. A new unit is in development that is made up of a larger variety of crystal forms allowing for more complex and intricate geometric arrangements. The animations will adapt to these changes accordingly.
How did you tune the dynamics between the animations and the crystal refractions?
The piece went through a testing process of approximately two months. During this process various animated sequences were fed through the crystals to assess their suitability. I eventually found that the most interesting patterns to use were ones that mimic the displacement effect of the animations reflecting through crystals, a bit like a brief reflective feedback system.
[Video below: sketch depicting the upcoming version of Prismatica utilizing a series of individually cut crystal forms]