The Birmingham 2022 Festival was a six-month cultural programme which started in March 2022. Audacious, playful, and inclusive, the festival connected people, time and place in a programme designed to entertain, engage, and embrace audiences, whilst positively disrupting and inspiring lasting change. With the aim of engaging 2.5 million people, both in person and online, Birmingham 2022 Festival was designed to reflect the people of the region, exploring heritage, diversity, and youth.
Created by Birmingham based artist Georgia Tucker, Fluito means ‘to overflow’ or ‘to float’. The experience aimed to showcase not only the agility and speed of elite swimmers, but also the positive mental impact of swimming, water inequality within Commonwealth countries and the problem of ocean pollution.
Georgia conceptualised Fluito after completing her MA at the Birmingham School of Art in 2021, and it aligns with her passion for raising awareness of protecting our planet. The artist is known for using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) alongside physical spaces to create alternative realities. Using large-scale art installations in public spaces, she creates interactive works that focus on the various challenges of climate change. Through these public artworks, she intends to inspire meaningful conversations.
"Climate anxiety can leave people feeling overwhelmed rather than inspired to change. The experience of Fluito is playful and memorable and although people do need to alter their behaviours, I wanted to showcase there is beauty in the future and a purpose to changing." said Tucker.
Tucker was looking for a projection brand to help deliver Fluito with the goal of transforming the sport of swimming and para swimming into a public art installation in the summer of 2022.
Taking inspiration from Tucker’s front-row experience of the everchanging Birmingham city landscape, Fluito places two scaffolding cubes one inside the other which the viewer will explore within.
Tucker had very little experience using projectors and the installation company, Bam Sound, hadn’t worked on a projection installation of this scale. Optoma’s main challenge was to help Tucker achieve her vision by engineering a solution using the best projection technology suited to the project.
Optoma’s ProDesign service was amazing from start to finish, covering design, consultancy and installation support. Optoma worked closely with Bam sound and also collaborated with technology partner Liz Berry from Hologramica.
The design of the scaffolding for the outer cube was key as the projectors had to be mounted at specific locations. This presented a new challenge for the scaffolders too.
Optoma also advised on the resolution needed for the content so it could be rendered at the exact size to fit the projected surface area on the cube. The specifications were provided prior to the installation due to the accurate designs created by the Optoma ProDesign team which helped speed up the content creation process.
A total of five Optoma projectors were chosen. Four Optoma ZU720TST’s were used to project onto the walls of the cube with content running from the Optoma Nano. The fifth ZU720TST was used to rear project onto the ceiling of the cube with content running from a media player.
The ZU720TST is ideal for multi-projector installations where powerful edge-blending, warping and content playback are required from one compact package. This allowed for perfect projection placement in the confines of a very small space. It also offers excellent brightness and WUXGA resolution.
The Optoma Nano provided the perfect solution for the blended content across the walls of the cube as it supports the use of a simple USB camera for auto-blending projectors using the famous patented VIOSO auto-alignment technology.
The final result was breathtaking. The interactive, outdoor public art installation invited participants to explore different layers of aquatics through a maze of projection, soundscapes, mirrors, visuals and film. Fluito integrates the virtual with the physical to create a transfixing immersive experience – as the artist intended.
Fluito allowed landlocked Birmingham residents to dive in and experience the escapist feeling of being near water. Entering water increases blood flow to the brain which improves memory, mood, concentration and even nutrient supply.
Based outdoors in Sandwell Valley Country Park, the Fluito experience was made accessible to all. Through augmented reality (AR) experience, participants from all 72 Commonwealth Countries were also able to participate in Fluito from anywhere in the world online.