Singapore Projection Mapped, by William Chan

Work-in-progress illustration by visual artist Michael Ng, whose works will be shown at the SG Heart Map Finale 
Projection Mapping sounds technically baffling but is really something quite familiar to anyone who is tuned into pop culture. Pop stars like Beyonce and Madonna have used it in their concerts. It is the projection of images on surfaces, creating 3D effects which warp the original form of the projection canvas. Projection Mapping was recently showcased at the Night Festival and will be featured again at the finale of the SG Heart Map Initiative at the Float @ Marina Bay from 26 to 29 November 2015.

William Chan, a multidisciplinary designer and artist whose works cover projection mapping, has produced a film celebrating places significant to the Singapore story and an animation of the SG Heart Map Journey. He is the recipient of Singapore’s highest design accolade, the President’s Design Award ‘Designer of the Year’ in 2007 and also the co-founder of PHUNK (studio), Asia's leading art & design collective. The SG Heart Map is a crowd-sourced map of the nation’s ‘heart’ and special moments, “drawn” from the stories of these special places, as told by ordinary Singaporeans. It was curated as a living, growing map since November last year and has surfaced online, as well as through a series of public events, activities and exhibitions during Singapore’s Jubilee year. This will culminate in the finale event at the Float @ Marina Bay.

We spoke to William to find out more about his project and what visitors can expect at the event.

What does a projection artist do?
A projection artist warps videos onto 3D objects to create an interesting visual experience.

What kinds of medium do you project on?
At SG Heart Map Festival @ Float, I will be projecting my work featuring the 50 SG Heart Map places chosen by Singaporeans onto a dome as part of the programming. The festival will take place from 26 November till 29 November at The Float @ Marina Bay and will feature works of art that are co-created between seven lead artists, including myself, and Singaporeans over the last one year.  

Nowadays, thanks to social media, we see a lot of 3D, illusionary types of projection show, many of it also seen in some major pop concerts, is that within your scope of work as well?
Yes, I’ve done a lot of work for the MTV Asia awards and their concerts over the years.

Are projection artists high in demand currently?
Yes, I think so. 

What is A Beautiful Day about?
Over the last one year, Singaporeans have actively stepped forward to share personal stories that happened at places in Singapore that define home for them. From more than 80,000 personal stories of places contributed, 50 SG Heart Map places were unveiled, reflecting Singaporeans’ diverse choice locations and experiences. A Beautiful Day documents Singapore from day to night through these 50 SG Heart Map places, and brings audiences on a visual journey of the many places that trace the progress of Singapore. This celebration of the 50 SG Heart Map places will be presented through an animation on the exterior of the dome and a short film projected in the interior.

What's the most exciting part of this project, A Beautiful Day?
The most exciting part of the project is when we travelled to all 50 SG Heart Map locations over four weeks for the filming. I had the opportunity to revisit places which I have not been to for a long time, and also visited new places. I hope that A Beautiful Day will inspire more to rediscover the beauty and meaning of places in Singapore.

What's are some of the difficulties in putting together this project, A Beautiful Day?
One of the challenges was the haze, which made the places look flat. We had to look for better angles to capture the beauty of these places and I hope everyone will enjoy it when it debuts at the SG Heart Map Festival @ Float.

How long did this whole project take to complete?

It took around eight to nine months, from the initial planning, animating the graphics, shooting the 50 locations and post-production.

Read more about SG Heart Map here and also the schedule of events including the Finale event at the Float @ Marina Bay

A diverse group of other artists will also be presenting their works at the event. They include filmmaker Royston Tan, co-founder of Books Actually Kenny Leck, visual artist Michael Ng, photographer Gwen Lee, sound designer Zulkifle Mahmod, designer Tia Boon Sim and creative practitioner Zaihan Kariyani.

Royston Tan's '50 First Kisses' 

Inspired by the notion of romance, Royston draws stories from SG Heart Map to present 50 First Kisses, a short film on places in Singapore that bear romantic significance to couples. Drawing from heartwarming and candid recollections from Singaporeans, in particular the Pioneer Generation, Royston’s film explores the intimate moments of Singaporeans from all walks of life, set against the backdrop of iconic landmarks in Singapore. A preview of 50 First Kisses made its debut at SG Heart Map @ Park, in conjunction with NParks’ SG50 Concert Series in the Park, on 14 March 2015. See the preview clip here:

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