[ISEA2014] Paper: Anthony Head – Stories on walls: representing text through architectural projection


‘Stories on walls, representing text through architectural projection’ refers to Head’s involvement with architectural projection for a particular public art project, funded by the Arts Council England: ‘You, me and everyone in Portsmouth’. The endeavour, organised by the ReAuthoring Project, involved four writers and a production team gathering stories from the people of Portsmouth, UK. The writers retold and interpreted the stories as written poems, plays, prose, single words and flash fiction. In all 8,000 words of text were created to be displayed over 2 nights, projected onto Portsmouth Guildhall.Commonly, architectural projections are image based, utilising 3D graphics or illustrations to explore and transform the surface of a building into a fantastical display. Dealing with a vast amount of text created a different kind of challenge for the artist in the project, Anthony Head, and an alternative viewing experience for the audience, reading stories from a 60 metre wide building. The paper will discuss how Head went about resolving this challenge, including architectural mapping, software development, text editing and live performance and the reasons for the decisions made. It will explain how the balance between spectacle and contemplative experience was achieved, how Head dealt with the textual ‘data’ and the reasons for making it a live performance. It will explain how it is a different from previous outdoor projections, its artistic and technical innovations.The paper fits into the sub‑theme of in a slightly alternative way, in that the architecture was physical with the digital embedded into it via projection and 3D graphics. The whole project was collaboration, an exchange between the public and writers, and writers and the artist, mediated by the production team. The topic of the project was Location, the response of the public’s experience of Portsmouth.

  • Anthony Head, Bath Spa University, UK