Studio Output has never been afraid to take advantage of new technologies – whether it's responsive web design or combining the Playstation Move controller with projection mapping. In its latest R&D project, the firm has teamed up with Beach London to launch the Cartograph at the Pick Me Up exhibition in London.
The Cartograph is an interactive exhibition using Google Maps. It takes artworks outside the confines of the Pick Me Up exhibition at Somerset House and into specific augmented digital locations in London.
We caught up with founding partner and creative director Dan Moore from Studio Output for a quick interview.
DA: Which artists are involved in this?
DM: "We've got a selection of artists from this year's Pick Me Up fair along with favourites from past events (many of whom we've worked with on past projects such as our Studio project for Sony PlayStation). The full list is: Adhemas Batista, Anthony Peters, Cheism, Craig & Karl, Elliot Wyatt, Fred Butler, Geneviève Gauckler, Hattie Stewart, James Joyce, Jean Julien, John C Thurbin, Jules Julien, Maggie Li, Malarky, Margot Bowman, Mark Ward, Mat Pringle, Matthew Green, Michael Gillette, MVM, Pure Evil, Rob Flowers, Robbie's Brown Shoes, Rose Stallard, Ryan Cox, Samuel Esquire, Serial Cut, Stuart Patience, Tom Sewell and Vault 49."
DA: How big was the team used to create this? and how long did it take?
DM: "The team consisted of Rita Mantler, Dave McDougall, James Cuddy, Stewart McMillan, Andy Lyon, Laura Newman Cardwell, Sam Quayle, Emma Graham, Sam Allen, James Adkin and myself (so 11 in total). The project has taken us a couple of months in total – with a big emphasis on the last two-three weeks."
DA: What are the different types of software you've used to create this?
DM: "From a design and asset creation point of view it's the usual stuff: Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and Cinema 4D (a shout out has to go to the Riptide Pro .obj exporter plugin for Cinema 4D – it was a lifesaver)."
However, for the interactive installation, it's a very different story. For this, I'll hand you over to Rita."
RM: "We're mashing up a whole bunch of experimental or new technologies - it's built on a node.js server with a quick set up of express.js and mongodb. We're using three.js for the 3D rendering and the Google api to get the Streetview images based on the concept from streetViewReflectionMapping and Creating Your Own Environment Maps
"While we have a version that works online on certain browsers (mainly Firefox), this is neither an accessible build nor does it adhere it to any standards - it is an experiment that stretches the boundary of what's currently possible.
"The mayor challenge was getting it all to work combined in the actual exhibition environment - loading huge assets, 3D WebGL, Maps technology, websockets and touch events had to work all at once.
"We're using Openlayers for the map implementation but pulling Google Maps styled tiles for actual map display - this workaround was necessary because the Google api itself breaks with touch events, which was necessary for the installation.
"We're monitoring the live installation remotely via logmein.com to make sure we can quickly solve any performance issues."
DA: This feels like the beginning of something new. What are some of the more interesting avenues you wish to take this?
RM: "Initially our thinking was around different cities and how the 'art tour' could transfer out to them. Since then we've been looking at how more complex 3D could work within it – be that architectural models or more advanced modelling and animation. We'd also like to work on something around user-generated content – maybe from SketchUp."