The Beacons
A kinetic content system that opens windows into a virtual world

For Rag and Bone SS17, Marcus Wainwright’s first show since the departure of David Neville, Prodject asked TEM to create something unique and ambitious. TEM with Vincent de Belleval invented a method to create a virtual environment around a catwalk, to tell a story around Thom Yorke's 'Coloured Candy', using a dynamic content system piped through a room sized inverted zoetrope, created from 2.5m tall, 0.5 tonne, 60rpm motorised beacons, X3.
As the track begins the beacons awaken with a familiar voice, reminiscent of OK Computer era ‘Fitter Happier’ speaking text from The Universal Sigh, the free newspaper which accompanied Radiohead’s 2011 album The King Of Limbs. The phasing kinetic motion of the beacons evolve with the audio to paint the space with light and movement. From an abstract horizon, geometric landscapes through to glitched chocolate box beach scenes, waveform analysis and light.

The beacons become lanterns illuminating a virtual environment that evolves. As the track and content system reach apogee, the beacons create glimpses of another place, for just a few seconds, before track and sculptures lose phase.
Using bespoke software and hardware, a realtime 3D engine and media server technology, we merge physical and virtual in a glimpse to the future potential of immersive physical installs.

Vincent de Belleval developed a process for feeding power and data to a series of revolving motorised projectors. We then formed these projectors into 3 large beacons and placed them in array in the centre of the Rag and Bone SS17 show. Using feedback data from the motors, we align the rotation of virtual cameras in the real time content engine with the physical rotation, meaning we essentially paint static imagery on to the walls and gauzes of the venue in 3 sweeping 360 arcs.
The faster the projectors spin, the more the illusion of a complete immersive environment is created by the phenomenon of vision persistence. This kinetic content system allows us to build environments around the models and guests which the motorised projectors sample as they spin, like lighthouses illuminating virtual worlds. It also allows us to use the content infrastructure as a conceptual and sculptural element in the show, instead of hiding it in the shadows.

Bold and ambitious, like the fashion house it supported.

Concept and Creative Direction by TEM in collaboration with Vincent de Belleval
Production by Action Time Vision
System engineering by The Hive
Original Soundtrack by Thom Yorke
Executive Production by Prodject