Tag Archives: history

Another Gray Area

Karel Bata - Another Gray Area 4

My experiments with image presentation led me in 1981 to create Another Grey Area. This used a Meccano-built rig housing a mirror linked to a motor, the whole married to a Sony Portapak video camera. As the mirror rotated the field-of-view covered 360 degrees. I filmed a dancer in Sadler’s Wells Theatre’s rehearsal space dancing around the rig. The video was then transferred to film and this was put in a projector, which replaced the camera on the mirror-rig. This would then project an image of the dancer that moved around the room, creating the illusion of a portal into the original rehearsal space.

As far as I know this was the first Projection Mapping installation in Europe. There had been PM experiments in the US by Disney, and (unknown to me then) Michael Naimark used a film camera mounted on a turntable in 1980.

Another Grey Area was shown at Sadler’s Wells, and the London Film-Makers Co-Op in 1981.

The projected material (which moved around the room) may be viewed here:
Vimeo link

For 30 years the projection rig sat in a cupboard under my gas meter(!) until I attended a talk
by artist Alex May on the history of Projection Mapping and realised that I had been one of the pioneers. Whoah! Below is the rig as it came out of storage. The motor is detached because it was used for something else about ten years ago. The mirror broke long ago, but its rectangular frame was still there. In subsequent pictures it has been replaced with a circular one.

 Initial view
  Click any image to enlarge

 Karel Bata - Another Gray Area: Schematic
Karel Bata - Another Gray Area - Wide
Karel Bata - Another Gray Area: Schematic
Karel Bata - Another Gray Area - Wide
Karel Bata - Another Gray Area: Schematic
Sony AV3400 reel-to-reel Black & White 405 lines Portapak hired from
Fantasy Factory.

.

Advertisements