On Friday 17th April 2015, the Lenovo Social Media team collaborated with 10 Singapore based artists and lit up the streets around Haji Lane.
We armed the artists with Yoga Tablet 2 Pros, and they bought their signature artistry and aesthetics to pieces of work, which culminated into a street art exhibition that changed the way people saw the landscape.
Brandon Tay, a new media artist working in the intersection between novelty and experience, along with digital artist Shang Liang, took a simple observation of a child’s use of technology and turned it into a beautiful interactive experience.
Read Brandon’s #LightAndSeek story below:
I think it all started, as the best ideas do, while I was in transit from one place to the next. To be exact, it might have been on a train when I first realized how completely transfixed children were, engaged with their tablets and completely absorbed the same way I would have, in a book or a comic at their age. At the same time I think I might have been going through a transitional period myself, from working from what seemed to me, a somewhat congested medium of projection mapping and animation, and honestly wondering to myself what would come next.
When I was approached by Lenovo for the Light and Seek project, I found in their product, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, a device that somehow ignited a series of reactions in me. It combined the familiar interface of the tablet that most of us are used to, but including a projector as an integral part of its design. This unique lens, usually relegated to a separate, cabled device, introduced a mobile element to how we interface with technology in the everyday, and combined with what I know about projection mapping, created an opportunity to make something quite special.
The issue I wanted to tackle with the app, is how to engage young people, especially children, with technology but still have them relate to their environment in the real world; to create new ways of seeing that would introduce them to how media art like projection mapping is made, but away from a computer or a game that would disengage them from the world we live, instead augmenting it with a digital playground that would enliven the dream of childhood we all remember.
Working with Shang Liang from We Wear Glasses, a digital artist in his own right and a genius programmer, we came up with a framework on how it would distill the essence of what projection mapping is, into an interface that would be intuitive enough for a child to use, but complex enough to handle projection mapping for an everyday environment.
"I'm always looking at spaces in the city. A lot of what I do has to do with spaces and how to creatively use them. I pay attention to how people perceive and interact with them, and then wait for that creative spark to come." - Brandon Tay #lightandseek #behindthescenes #sgig #sgart #artsg #singapore #projectionart
Refining the process over the production period, we decided to introduce a musical element to the piece, to create a synaesthetic component that would be tied closely to the visual and interactive aspects. Thinking about how to put these elements in play, I experimented with a variety of musical phrases and eventually returned to a half-remembered musical term I encountered.
The pentatonic scale is a series of notes which is common in music found all over the world. Playing elements of that scale would, in my opinion, connect with how one perceives melody and music. Using those notes and tying them dynamically to visual clips, a novice non-musician (such as myself) could easily generate something akin to an ambient musical piece, with added animation and projection mapping.
With all the elements in place, as a visual motif for both simplicity and connecting with the musical theme, a black and white theme reminiscent of the keys of a piano became the main visual aesthetic for the piece.
As the event approached, I ran through various scenarios on how to present the app. I believed what was interesting about it wasn’t the piece that we would make from it, but the interaction between the public and the app, as well as using Haji Lane as the stage. I think watching people find out how the so-called technical magic of projection mapping was done, in a form as simple as a tablet application gave us key insights on what people liked about it and how we could take it further. We hope that with devices such as the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, and putting the ability to create art into the hands of the user, is really what comes next.
Watch the full #LightAndSeek experience: