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Case study – Dataton gives architecture lovers a visual treat at Venice Biennale

Andrew Brister 17 October 2012

Dataton’s Watchout software has been used to help create the a number of installations, including the ‘Life Between Buildings’ project for Gehl Architects, at this year’s Venice Biennale. Dataton’s Watchout multi-image display and presentation software is being used to drive a number of AV installations at this year’s Architecture Biennale in Venice, the 13th exhibition of its kind. Watchout has been incorporated at the Arsenale, Giardini and the Italian Pavilions, but nowhere more spectacularly than in ‘Life Between Buildings.’ This immersive installation is a collaboration between Gehl Architects, Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and multimedia specialists No Parking.
 Based in the Danish region of Zealand, the Louisiana Museum has an extensive international collection and focuses on the interaction between different art forms. This year it is launching ‘Louisiana c/o’ as a way of creating a new platform for its work in a global, mobile world. The programme is intended to take the museum’s traditions into other contexts than those determined by its home location, and the first of these is the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The result is ‘Life Between Buildings’ – a spectacular, 360-degree immersive installation that uses a series of still images, collages and graphics to elucidate Gehl’s vision of shared urban space. To realise the installation, the Louisiana Museum worked with Danish AV content specialist No Parking to create both the audiovisual show and the immersive projection space in which it is exhibited. After Effects compositing for the production was by multimedia company Benny Box. “In order to achieve a live urban experience, that represents architect Jan Gehl’s reflections, we created a 16-minute immersive movie, pre-rendered using After Effects, which plays in a loop scheduled by Watchout,”explains Morten Ranmar of No Parking.@page_break@“The domed installation is 3 metres high and 12 metres in diameter. We’re using seven high-brightness full-HD resolution Panasonic projectors with three Watchout servers. As well as the video, these servers are also providing two stereo channels of synchronised audio to create a quadrophonic audio for an immersive audio experience for the audience. The soundtrack has been mixed in such a way that the audio attracts the audience’s attention to an area of the domed screen where something new is happening. “Watchout is handling all the warping and blending, and we used the pre-split function of the software to direct different video sources to the different screens, or sections of screen.”
 No Parking built a 1:1 setup in a barn in the Danish countryside to test all the component parts and fine-tune the content, before everything was shipped to Italy for the Biennale.@page_break@
Elsewhere, Watchout is used at Arsenale to warp and blend images from high-brightness Panasonic projectors on to 10 screens on four walls of a large room in the “Architecture and its Affects” exhibit by London-based architect Farshid Moussavi. The installation surrounds viewers with changing projections of textures and patterns, structural configurations and facades. The audio soundtrack is incorporated onto the Watchout timeline. Watchout is also applied in an immersive scenario using the four walls of a large room for director David Chipperfield, MVRDV and The Why Factory at the Central Pavilion of the Giardini to architecturally represent an ideal city. On-site support in Venice is provided by Dataton’s Italian Watchout premium partner Mectech for the installations at the Arsenale, the Giardini and the Italian pavilion. Claudio Ceroni, managing director at Mectech says: “The Biennale is the biggest yet and it is using more Watchout to communicate design and architecture than ever before. Mectech was on hand to support the various partners with their imaging and communication needs.”
 Summarising the use of Watchout in the various areas at this year’s Architecture Biennale, Fredrik Svahnberg, marketing director at Dataton concludes: “We are deeply impressed by ‘Life Between Buildings’ and are full of admiration for the way No Parking has brought the architectural vision of Jan Gehl to life. This, together with the other installations we are supporting in Venice, makes the 13th Architecture Biennale a feast for all the senses.” The Architecture Biennale opened in Venice on 29 August and runs until 25 November. Photos: Life Between Buildings, No Parking www.dataton.com 

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