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Radiohead and Revolving Projectors Immerse a Fashion Week Show in a Virtual World

Based on a Thom Yorke score, creative studio TEM's visuals "paint" Rag & Bone's catwalk show with movement and light.

Kevin Holmes

A virtual environment generated by spinning, motion-controlled projectors immersed designer Marcus Wainwright's Rag & Bone SS17 catwalk show in movement and light. Created by London creative collective TEM, founded by Christopher Davenport and Christopher Pearson, and spatial designers Vincent de Belleval—and executive produced by Prodject—the NYFW presentation's visuals were based on original music composed by Thom Yorke. TEM—who have previously worked with Lady Gaga, James Blake, Yugo Nakamura, and Primal Scream—used customized projectors with a realtime 3D game engine to effectively "paint" the catwalk space as an OK Computer "Fitter Happier"-type robot voice spoke text from The Universal Sigh, a free newspaper Radiohead released alongside 2011's The King Of Limbs.


GIF courtesy of TEM

"When we heard the track, Chris and I wanted to be able to support the surreal soundscape with textures and environments derived from the imaginings of this seemingly confessional, slightly deranged text to voice narrator" explains Davenport to The Creators Project. The resulting visuals became everything from "an abstract horizon, geometric landscapes through to glitched chocolate box beach scenes, waveform analysis and light."

The system they built to create these featured three custom, 0.5-ton, 8' tall, 60rpm revolving beacons with projectors that used feedback data from the motors to change and align the rotation of the virtual game engine cameras with their physical rotation. Davenport refers to the beacons as "lighthouses illuminating virtual worlds" that allowed for static imagery to be cast onto the walls of the venue in sweeping 360 arcs. Placed in the center of the show, they also provided a sculptural element.


Image courtesy of TEM

"The faster the projectors spin, the more the illusion of a complete immersive environment is created by the phenomenon of vision persistence," says Davenport. "The beacons become lanterns illuminating a virtual environment that evolves. As the track and content system reach apogee, the beacons create glimpses of another place, for just a few seconds, before track and sculptures lose phase. [It's a way to] merge physical and virtual in a glimpse to the future potential of immersive physical installs." Check out more from the presentation, below:


Image courtesy of TEM


Image courtesy of TEM


GIF courtesy of TEM

Visit TEM's website here to learn more about their work. Visit Vincent de Belleval's website here. Visit Rag & Bone's website here.

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