When the world shut down, students and educators had to adapt to new learning environments. During those times, efforts to engage and bring students and communities together safely resulted in more innovative forms of interactive art across campuses and city streets. When tasked with bringing students and faculty back together, The University of Virginia (UVA) turned to visual technology artist Jeff Dobrow to create a pop-up projection mapping experience called “Brighter Together.”
Running from March to May 2021, “Brighter Together” was the culmination of a series of immersive art pieces Dobrow projected across UVA’s Charlotsville campus. From psychedelic floral displays that melded perfectly with music, to a salute to the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 with arms raising diplomas in triumph, the mapping project evoked themes of spring, renewal and a brighter future ahead, while highlighting the architecture of UVA to bring the community together for an outdoor artistic experience.
Using three Epson Pro L1505UNL laser projectors, Dobrow turned artwork into life-size experiences that brought students, faculty and community members back together during an uncertain time. Creating this larger-than-life experience, however, was no small feat. With limited time, Dobrow had to map out his new canvases and adapt content to fit across the McIntire Amphitheater, Old Cabell Hall and the University Chapel.
Dobrow was able to streamline the project with flexible projector technology and helpful software. Not all content was pre-rendered with many of the pieces being audio reactive in real-time and running on the system’s GPU. Dobrow used Resolume projection mapping software for playback and content adjustments, allowing him to easily manage content while sending multiple hi-resolution streams to the three Epson projectors. Additionally, with Epson’s intuitive Projector Professional Tool Software, Dobrow was able to minimize extended warping in the playback software, which was extremely valuable to the projection mapping project.
“As an independent artist, accessibility to both quality equipment and audiences is a constant challenge,” said Dobrow. “The Epson projectors are lightweight for flexible placement and deliver incredible color and brightness. Art is by nature fluid and changing constantly and as projection art continues to gain awareness and popularity, the demand for technology solutions that can further empower artists, while improving the art, will be of huge importance.”
“Brighter Together” was a beautiful experiment that demonstrated the power of audio-visual art and its ability to shed positive light after a long, tough year. Dobrow and UVA created a free, safe and accessible event acting as a reminder that a community is always brighter together.