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Juxtaposition


Stereoscopic 3D panorama montage and installation, 2011.

Stereoscopic 3D panoramas, captured in the Tasmanian wilderness are juxtaposed with scenes of extreme urban development in Hong Kong. The contact points are shaped as seamless transitions, disclosing unusual perspectives between both extremes. The work consist of a 80k pixel wide stereoscopic panorama constructed from 21 separate scenes and on location sound recordings.


Video docu. Exhibition at the ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe, May-June 2011.
A 360 degree panoramic stereoscopic 3D projection environment (ZKM Panoramalabor).




Video documentation Juxtaposition within custom build revolving projection platform.

Exhibitions:

  • Beyond Festival - 3Days of Dimensions. May 26 - 30 June 2011. ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany. Curator: Ludger Pfanz, Bernd Linterman
  • ISEA International Symposium of Electronic Arts, 2012, Machine Wilderness. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sept 2012.
  • ICCI360 Arena, London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Maritime Mix. July 2012.
  • Forthcoming: School of Creative Media, City University Hong Kong, Ran Ran Shaw Creative Media Centre,2013.
  • Juxtaposition was featured in steresocopy news, the industry leading blog (Nov 2011) .


Details:

I created this work during a four month fellowship at City University Hong Kong in 2011. Just before heading off to HK, I spent a week in Tasmania, hiking the famous Overland Track in the south-western wilderness area. The contrast between both environments, unspoilt nature in Tassi and extreme urban development in HK could hardly be any more radical. But there are also interesting points of connection. In Juxtaposition, I take a closer look at these commonalities. What happens if you plonk the urban sprawl right next to a living and growing forest? Or a cemetery stacked with tombstones on a hill next to alpine rock formations? I tried to find visual interesting and meaningful connections but at the same time leave enough room for interpretation and associations.

The starting point for Juxtaposition are stereoscopic 3D panoramic photographs I took in Tassi and later, over a period of a few months, in Hong Kong. The wide field-of-view of the panorama in combination with stereoscopic depth, if presented accordingly, has the potential to generate a highly immersive experience for the audience. At City University HK I was able to work with state-of-the-art immersive visualisation technologies at the ALIVE Lab (Applied Laboratory for Interactive Visualisation and Embodiment) and experiment with my visuals in a number of display environments.

The result is a stereoscopic 3D giga-pixel panorama montage (~80k pixel long), constructed from about 20 separate scenes and on-location sound recordings. The contact points between panoramas and locations are shaped as seamless transitions. Those transitions are probably the most interesting part in this work, they are not simple blending from one to the next, but elaborate compositions within the scene architectures and, very important, stereoscopic depth.

The premiere of Juxtaposition was at the ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe in the Panoramalabor, a 360 degree cylindrical and stereoscopic 3D projection environment. The long panorama montage or landscape slowly rotates within the cylinder, whereas new sections are constantly revealed and others disappear. The duration of this loop about 8 min.

There is an interesting effect on ones perception while watching the work slowly spin within the panoramic screen. The real physical space in the exhibition and one's orientation in it give way to the virtual landscape in the panoramas. Leaving visitors somehow confused about their location and orientation. I will explore this phenomena further in future projects.

Another version of Juxtaposition is a stereoscopic 3D film (duration ~12 min), where the panorama montage slowly scrolls behind the screen frame.







Juxtaposition panorama in color anaglyphic format for a 3D preview. Use the scroll bar for horizontal translation.
Red/cyan anaglyphic glasses are needed for the 3D effect.


Technical details:
The panoramas where captured with a Sony Nex 5 - 16mm lens in the 3D sweep panorama mode. The result of 3D sweeps is a MPO format file which contains the stitched left and right eye panoramas as jpeg images. One can not change any settings but define the exposure (which is constant all through the sweep) and direction. The stereo base or interaxial can be varied by sweeping the camera close or further away from the rotation axis, not in a precise and controlled way though.
The quality of the panoramas depend very much on the scene, objects closer then ~2m cause significant stitching problems. This is not such a big deal with conventional 2D panoramas, but makes a 3D panorama unwatchable. Other problems occur with repetitive textures (such a grass) and a scene in motion can not be captured at all due to the fact that the 3D shots are taken time sequential.
The original pano size is about 4000x1080 pix, the exact length being a factor of the focal length. The most suitable software tool I found to split the left right parts within the MPO is the free Stereo Photo Maker by Masuji Suto.


The stereoscopic panoramas are editied in above/below format (left and right eye image on top of each other) and stacked as layers in Photoshop (left screen). The right screen shows the live anaglyphic 3D preview, achieved through custom software.

To edit and composite the panormas, Adobe Photoshop's layering and masking tools where used. The challange in comositing is the depth continuity. The transition between two neighboring panoramas do not only have to match the scene architecture, exposure and color but also the depth. To be able to judge depth (which is defined by the horizontal disparity between left/right) live stereoscopic preview is vital. There is no convenient way to do so in Photoshop, but it is possible with a few tricks. I developed a Quartz Composer patch which constantly grabs a defined portion of the screen (the Photoshop above/below stereoscopic image) and displays the processed image in anaglyphic format on the second screen. This set-up turned out to work quite effective.

Software ZKM Panoramamlabor: Bernd Lintermann.
Produced at City University Hong Kong, ALIVE Lab. With special thanks to Jeffrey Shaw.