“Six Things” is the name of the successful art exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York City, based on an ongoing project called “Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far.”
The exhibition, created by design firm Sagmeister & Walsh, includes dynamic videos with striking images projected on five walls. “This exhibition is really exciting,” said Rebecca Shaykin, Leon Levy Assistant Curator at the museum. “It features six maxims that have led to greater happiness for Stefan Sagmeister, such as ‘If I Don’t Ask I Won’t Get,’‘Be More Flexible,’ and ‘Now is Better.’”
The videos feature phrases made from unexpected everyday objects, such as jumping jello or plants in a fish tank.
“‘Now is Better’ sounds like self help, but the way he animates and brings it to life is wonderfully creative and very surprising, and the way he chooses to illustrate these ideas brings out nuances of the phrases that you might not get from just reading them in type,” said Shaykin.
The designer and his studio are known for their use of unusual materials – creating words out of bamboo or sugar cubes or water balloons – and the various objects featured in the show are actual objects being videotaped. “He likes to play around with people’s expectations with his choice of material and video technique,” she added.
“It was important to Stefan for the videos to be as big as possible to create an immersive environment and to be able to walk in between the walls and watch both videos without having heads or bodies cast a shadow on the images to disrupt the viewing,” explained Shaykin.
While the art was the brainchild of Sagmeister & Walsh, the brains behind its successful execution was Glenn Polly, President of Videosonic Systems, a systems integrator specializing in advanced AV integration.
The 2nd floor gallery housing the exhibition is a relatively small and intimate space. Videos are projected onto free-standing, monolithic walls that are 11’ wide, 12’ high and 16” deep.Two constructed walls are 10’ apart and have images projected on both sides.The fifth video is projected equally large on the back wall of the gallery, parallel to the free-standing walls. The VPL-FH36 projector’s installation support features, including 1.6x zoom lens, wide-range lens shift (V:+60%, H:+/-32%) and geometric correction features, were fully utilized to achieve the precise projection, despite the limited installation conditions.
“When you enter the gallery, it was the artists’ intent to overwhelm you with the scale of the video.The screens are ‘in your face,’” said Polly. “The projected images are bold and dynamic, using a broad range of colors and grey scale effects.And the edges of the image align precisely with the edges of the wall – there is absolutely zero over- or under-spill,” Polly added.
Because the technology is hidden, the first impression is that the images are coming from something other than video projection.To achieve this effect, five Sony VPL-FH36 black projectors were installed high above the sight lines, where they were blocked by the height of the walls. In addition, the close proximity of the images did not compromise the image quality, because the projectors incorporate the most current generation Sony LCD panels. “The color accuracy was dead on,” said Polly. “And there were no visibly detectable grid or dot patterns associated with images produced by other LCD panels or DLP technology.”
Videosonic Systems’ system designs typically take the most minimalist approach to achieve the goals for the final integrated solution. Understanding the difficulty and challenges associated with this installation, they needed to have the flexibility to easily move the projectors nearer or further from the screen surface.
“We were looking for something that would allow us to get a certain size image in a finite amount of space,” said Niger Miles, Audio-Visual Coordinator at the museum.
“It was difficult to sneak the images between the next closest screen wall without getting in the way of another projector, so it was one of the more difficult installations I have ever done,” said Polly. “I don’t think we would have been able to do this with any other projector,” he added.
Miles agreed that the FH36 was the ideal choice. “I’m happy to work with these particular models, because specifically I like to find a model of projector from whatever manufacturer that’s flexible enough to use moving forward,” said Miles. “We had great success with Sony projectors; they offer robust reliability, high- quality images, and very low maintenance. We certainly will look to Sony in the future for any of our projection needs,” he added.
From the artistic aspect, Shaykin is thrilled with the audience reaction. “I’ve had a lot of people come to the gallery and speak specifically about how impressed they are with image quality, with projections being so crisp and clear at so large a size,” she said. “Stefan himself, when the show was first installed, said he was very, very happy, and that his videos had never looked better. We were thrilled to hear that we had done our job right!”
For more about this installation, click here to download the Case Study PDF from Sony.