Digital installation creates magical, living forest within the Mausoleum
Step into a magical world where nature and man become one. Looks can be deceiving but in this instance the mythological creatures that welcome you into the dark and brooding space of the mausoleum are actually moving, responding to your movements…
Forest Folk is an exciting new responsive digital artwork commissioned from Nexus Productions for the atmospheric space of the mausoleum. Largely inspired by the mystical landscapes of the Norwegian Artist, Nikolai Astrup the artwork features two screens that depict a gnarled, tree-like structure. Responding to the visitors' movements, the branches and leaves rustle and move, and dryadic figures awaken from the plant forms to watch. Meanwhile, around the mausoleum reverberates an ambient forest soundtrack, accompanied by an elegaic cello.
For Astrup, nature was a primal, living force, and many of the trees and mountains populating his works transformed into trolls and mountains. Indeed, in Astrup's print series depicting "The Troll Tree", a tree becomes a barky humanoid, its branches becoming arms and fingers.
Capturing such a transformation required a pioneering effort from Nexus Productions, the creative agency commissioned by Dulwich Picture Gallery to create the piece. Several actors and dancers were covered across their entire top half with surprisingly heavy weights of moss and bark before being filmed; these clips were then combined on two huge 4K screens, with the highest resolution available yet. Finally, the awakening of these figures was programmed to be triggered by movement detected using Kinect technology. The entire project, designed as an artwork as much as an interactive piece, took several months in the making.