Tesseract Research Laboratories design and construct immersive spaces and screen sculptures and then perform in them live, using video projectors and their own original video material to illuminate public spaces. The duo (Cindi Drennan and Justin Maynard) have been evolving their specialized form of hybrid media performance since 1997 and have presented work at the Sydney Opera House, Electrofringe arts festival, Sydney's Mardi Gras, events at Crown Casino and also their own "immersive audiovisual theatre project" at Newtown Theatre and the Performance Space.
Tesseract were invited to participate in the X|Media|Lab as resident artists and to develop an installation to enliven the conference space. The artists spent a week visiting the venue and developing concepts for a large scale projection design to enhance the Foundation Hall at the Museum of Contemporary Art. [view full image gallery]
Tesseract developed and tested a concept for a multi-screen projection using just three projectors to present many streams of image to a pair of specially built screens each composed of three vertical screens at angles to the projectors [view plans].
A third installation at the entrance way to the space was two diagonal white strips which, to people entering the venue, appeared as a cross. This installation featured custom-created animations designed in situ by Heidi Cox.
All three installations were built over a four day period and then installed the day before the event. Further preparations involved setting up projectors and creating custom stencils to prevent excessive projection spilling into the conference.
During the conference itself, Tesseract's original video work and abstract materials were mixed with specially prepared animations and live camera work, plus some humorous pieces thrown in to test the audience. Tesseract also looked for moments where they could present sampled or live images that were relevant to the forums, or blend in their own special effects live. For example, during Natalia Kurop's talk about the Special Effects industry she mentioned 'The Matrix'... and about 30 seconds later the Matrix Screen saver appeared on the screens, prompting comments from the audience. These interactions were included live (improvisationally and without rehearsals), adding to the overall impact of the installation.