We assume that technology will take us into the future, but what happens when it connects us with the past?
Hala Stulecia, or Centennial Hall, in Wrocław, often known as Breslau, Poland, was finished in 1913 and was, at the time, the largest concrete structure in the world. The dome measures 65 meters in diameter and was the first to exceed the size of the Pantheon in Rome, built almost eighteen hundred years earlier. Architect and city planner Max Berg built the impressive building to commemorate the 1813 War of Liberation against Napoleon Bonaparte and it is considered his masterpiece. In 2006, UNESCO awarded it the title of World Heritage Site.
This riveting video, O (Omicron), shows an audiovisual installation created by Romain Tardy, Thomas Vaquié and the innovative visual art production company AntiVJ to celebrate the centennial of Hala Stulecia. These artists have mapped and projected images onto the interior of the dome itself, highlighting and reinterpreting the architecture, converting it into a spaceship, disco hall and theater all at once. O (Omicron) is more than a fantastic light show. It also serves to project the building into the future by referencing the past, including images from Fritz Lang’s classic film, Metropolis, and futurist projects by Archigram. The result is breathtaking and disorienting in its timelessness, thanks to absolutely stunning execution and impeccable production values. It is difficult to capture something so large and ambitious on video, but AntiVJ does a fantastic job. You should check out their latest projects on their blog, including Paleodictyon, inspired by the marks of a mysterious underwater creature on the deep ocean floor. Fascinating!
The relatively young art of projection mapping, formerly known as spatial augmented reality, uses software to map two dimensional and three dimensional objects or figures onto a display surface. These surfaces are often buildings with complex shapes of their own, such as the dome used in O (Omicron). The first recorded use of the technique was in 1969 at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride, where disembodied heads were projected on the walls. The innovation since those early days is extremely impressive. Projection mapping has been used to great effect in advertising campaigns and live events, especially concerts, due to its potential to capture the attention and energize a crowd.