For its 9th edition, MURAL wanted to explore the connection between art and its audience. The idea: bringing to life a giant mural located on the main wall of the festival zone using cutting-edge projection equipment, gracefully provided by our long-term partner Panasonic. BirdO, a multidisciplinary artist from Toronto, worked from the very beginning with Montreal-based interactive studio Iregular to co-create a unique piece, Puzzles, that was at the crossroads of traditional mural art and technology-assisted interactive mapping.
“I collaborated with Iregular months and months in advance, and we found some common threads with my aesthetic and my style,” explains Jerry Rugg, the man behind BirdO’s mask. “It turned out magnificent, in my humble opinion. It opened my eyes to a new world.”
At the heart of the creation process was the desire for people to connect with the piece directly. Thanks to captors tracking their movements, audience members could interact with the projection by standing in a designated area in front of the mural and turning on their mobile phone flashlight. Their every move was reflected on the wall, giving them the ability to flip over cubes in the background or shake up the colour patterns with a flick of the wrist.
“The fact that we’re working with a mural, our projections become almost physical, they’re so bright and so sharp. When you get close to them, you wonder what’s real: is it the mural? Is it the visuals? It’s great being able to work with such an amazing quality of projectors. It allows for this type of confusion, which is an amazing confusion for us,” adds Daniel Iregui, founder of the studio Iregular.
Taking into account the production process of the mural, with all the surprises it can involve, was no easy task. As the mural was being painted during the first week of the festival, Iregular made sure the projection also evolved and adjusted itself. As a result, the experience for the audience renewed itself and changed every step of the way.
With regular tests taking place after nightfall, festival-goers slowly started interacting with the piece, giving each iteration of the piece a new layer of meaning. “The audience, the people interacting, are part of the story. That interaction completes the piece,” explains Iregui.
A beacon of light, colour and movement in the night sky, Puzzles quickly became a truly magical addition to the scenography at the heart of our festival zone. As MURAL dives deeper into the exploration of the way technology allows art, especially public art, to evolve, it’s a project we’re incredibly proud of.
Many thanks to our partner Panasonic for their support in the realization of this amazing project!