Graphics eMotion’s Interactive Projection Wows at TED2014

Ever see those crazy, colourful interactive projections on buildings, roofs and various events around Montreal, including the Just for Laughs Festival and Cirque Du Soleil at Place Des Arts? Chances are that those amazing visuals were created by Montreal’s Graphics eMotion. From Paul Oakenfold to Coachella, these guys are spreading their brand of custom multimedia all over the map, and most recently touched down at the TED2014 30th Anniversary in Vancouver to implement one of the most ambitious public Art installations yet. We caught up with the team behind GeM to get the scoop on the company, Google Creative Labs and TED.

Can you tell us a bit about Graphics eMotion and what you do?
GeM is a multimedia immersive experiences company. We specialized in 3D mapping, interactive projections and custom multimedia content and solutions.

How did the company start?
Karma! Julien, Hassan and Nadir met at the right place and at the right time to cooperate on a project in California.

The natural synergy was obvious as the three co-founders brought in their complementary experiences in 3D, design, business and technology.

Let’s talk about the TED 30th Anniversary…
It was such an exciting opportunity to implement one of the most ambitious public art installations around TED. It was also very rewarding for us as a Montreal company to have had the chance to work on the first TED held in Canada. Knowing that your work is going to be viewed and scrutinized by hundreds of world leaders and decision-makers from around the world is a thrilling, and sometimes chilling, experience.

How did Google Creative Labs find you?
Google and TEDx! Our Creative Director’s TEDx speech helped demonstrate Graphics eMotion’s embrace of TED’s spirit and GeM’s perfect match for the type of project Google Creative Labs was envisioning.

How long does a projection like the one you are doing for TED take to build?
It’s a very ambitious and challenging projection project since the sculpture itself is “alive.” It is very dynamic in shape, moves with the wind and is made from material that has many layers and transparency factors. A great portion of the work went in alternate designs, concepts and simulation on special models created by Google. Making sure we develop a projection solution that was optimal, that meets the environment to be, that can adapt to unexpected factors, and that does not affect surrounding buildings was a big challenge. It had to start with the design and manufacturing of elementary components such as intelligent projector boxes with sophisticated yet rugged and weather-resistant components. That was made possible by the precious collaboration of Christie projectors – another Canadian company.

There is a very creative, interactive element to this projection; can you fill us in on that?
Google Creative Labs created an amazing experience that allowed people under and around the sculpture to enrich the content through their browser, creating actions and reactions by the hundreds. As Aaron Koblin, the lead digital artist that collaborated with Janet Echelman, put it: we use our smartphones to connect with people all around the world, but we rarely connect with the people right next to us.

How long will this be up for in Vancouver?
Saturday, March 22nd will be the last night people can enjoy the sculpture.

Is there a way for us to see a live feed of it?
While not a live feed, a website showcasing the Google creation is already online and a video showing the different elements and the experience will be available on Graphics eMotion’s website soon.

What’s next for Graphics eMotion?
More inspiring events and festivals in Montreal and around the world… and some other exciting projects that will be revealed in due time.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)


Projection Images by: Ema Peter/Studio Echelman

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