Light Fantastic

Elaborate projection mapping show on The UVA Rotunda

One of the most prolific 3D projection mapping companies in the world will design a spectacle on the iconic centerpiece building of the University of Virginia. The presentation will be part of the University's Bicentennial Celebration on October 6, 2017 -- two hundred years to the day after Thomas Jefferson laid the cornerstone of the storied institution.

3D projection mapping is a relatively new art form, where images are projected on buildings and surfaces come to life in alignment with existing architectural features. A merging of real and virtual worlds, if you will. And part of that "merging" will be interactive moments between live performers and the virtual environment.

"This may be the most visible job we have ever done, because the story of UVA is a microcosm of the story of the United States – including the highs and the lows of UVA's extraordinary history," says Philippe Bergeron, the president of LA-based PaintScaping. Since August's tragic events in Charlottesville, "our work feels like it's under a microscope. We have to be exceptionally sensitive and diligent in depicting issues that have affected us all as a nation," continues Bergeron.

The company has staged numerous projection-mapping shows around the world, for clients ranging from Rodeo Drive and Sony Pictures to the New York Public Library. And Calvin Harris & Rihanna's "This Is What You Came For" music video which has, at last count, had over 1.7 billion views.

"For most of our shows, it's about the wow factor, but here, it really is a balance between spectacle and self-examination," continues Bergeron, himself no stranger to Hollywood. Indeed, Bergeron is also an actor and has appeared in over 60 film & TV shows, including Iron Man 2, Mad Men, Entourage, The Sopranos, Rush Hour 3 and Contact.

In addition to the spectacular visuals, the soundtrack for this project promises to be out-of-this-world, under the supervision of this year's Oscar winner for Best Sound Editing, Sylvain Bellemare ("Arrival") to handle the complex audio track.

The historic event will take place in Charlottesville, VA on Friday, October 6, 2017, on the Lawn of the University of Virginia, and will also include 800 performers, the premiere of an oratorio commissioned for the occasion ("We Hold These Truths"), the Martha Graham Dance Company, a gospel choir, Leslie Odom, Jr., Andra Day, the Goo Goo Dolls and so much more. Over 20,000 people are expected to attend.

Rene Wahl

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