Making a larger-than-life canvas for art

The animated short video about the history of Kampong Glam was done on an Apple iMac by Singapore artist Brian Gothong Tan, 33.

Now, it lives on the facade of the new Aliwal Arts Centre (AAC) in Aliwal Street. Along with 30 other works, it is projected on two of the building's walls, each measuring 8 x 9m.

They include short films created by the Singapore Contemporary Young Artists and animations by INKFusion and video art students from Lasalle College of the Arts.

Instead of following the tradition of showcasing them in art galleries or having people crowd into small rooms to stare at even smaller screens, the outdoor projection is meant to attract a wider community to view art through a medium they can relate to easily.

The hope is that this will spur people to discover other art forms such as theatre, dance and music within the arts centre, said Mr Tan Tee Tong, director of place management at The Old Parliament House, which manages the AAC.

"People enjoy watching TV and movies. Hence, a bridge into the arts for people in our community who may find the arts not too easy to appreciate will be through digital moving images," added Mr Tan.

With this in mind, the organiser had to figure out the mechanics of the display, maintaining the original brightness, contrast, colour and sharpness of the film on a large screen.

In the end, AAC chose to project it, rather than use a large LCD display, as the final work can now be seen from as far as 30m away.

It approached Epson, one of the leading makers of projectors and both parties decided on using four projectors - two for each facade - to complete the job.

The projectors will be turned on from Thursdays to Sundays, from 7.30 to 11pm, until mid-September.

Aside from considering the lumens, or brightness needed to maintain the projection, another factor that won over the AAC was the faithful representation of colours that can still be seen from afar.

Current projector models offer anything from 2,300 lumens to 10,000 lumens, but Epson projectors include a Colour Light Output specification, which shows the amount of red, green and blue light displayed, to measure a projector's ability to reproduce colour.

And the final product has received the thumbs up from artist Brian Tan, who spent a month working on his Kampong Glam multimedia piece, Dream Soul Palace.

He said: "I was very excited to see how passers-by would stop and take pictures, or just stand and watch the projections.

"Some of them would also take more interest and walk into Aliwal Arts Centre to find out what the place is all about."

Kok Siang Liang is a freelance writer.

Brought to you by Epson.