It was the fourth time that Projection Studio has created an art installation onto the Cathedral (photo: Ross Ashton)
UK - Projection artist Ross Ashton and The Projection Studio produced another spectacular work The World Machine onto Durham Cathedral in the UK for the 2015 Durham Lumiere light festival which attracted upwards of 200,000 people to the city over four nights of light installations.

It was the fourth time that Projection Studio has created an art installation onto the Cathedral, but the first time it's been done using video projectors. In the past, PIGI film projectors were used.

The projection system involved 14 Christie 20K machines which were positioned on a series of custom towers and hides strategically located around the perimeter of the Cathedral. This was carefully calculated to ensure that all the front facing walls and their various return surfaces were evenly lit.

There is a depth differential of 25m from the front to the back projection surfaces which included all three spires, and the cathedral is also made of dark stone, presenting many technical challenges. The images filling the space measured an impressive 160m wide by 60m tall.

d3 was chosen for control, for its flexibility and superior blending and mapping qualities. The show was 3D modelled in the d3 system enabling a detailed and complete wrap of the building to be produced. A designated UNESCO heritage site completed in 1096, it is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world.

Says Ross: "It was a complete privilege to be invited back to Durham Lumiere by the festival's curators, Artichoke and fantastic to work with everyone at the Cathedral together with eminent astronomers and historians from Durham University. The research required to create this work was exciting and fascinating - it was absolutely my dream project."

Ross also produced all the digital art working in close collaboration with the Cosmology and History departments of Durham University and the staff of Durham Cathedral library. All contributed ideas to the concept which was initially inspired by the scientific work of English thinker, scientist and philosopher Robert Grosseteste (c1170-1253).

Ross worked closely with Projection Studio's Sang Gun Kim, who led the team compiling all the 3D motion graphics and imaging making up the show content.

The projectors, control and hardware was supplied by QED and co-ordinated by Dan Gray who also programmed and operated the d3. The sound design was created by John del Nero working with Sebastian Frost.

On the final Saturday and Sunday nights, for a period the projection team created new artwork that lit the Cathedral in blue, white and red to stand in solidarity with Paris in the wake of the terror attacks.

(Jim Evans)

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