If Walls could talk

As part of the City of Davis Centennial Celebration, I designed a projection mapping intervention on the historic Dresbach-Boyer-Hunt Mansion in Downtown Davis. Titled If Walls Could Talk, the projection told the story of the house through abstract visuals. The final projection was presented to the Davis community on May 26, 2017, to a crowd of 250 people.

 
 

narrative

If Walls Could Talk relies heavily on symbols, patterns, and colors to convey the significance of the house. As one of the oldest houses still standing in Davis, it has seen the city’s past, present, and future. Spanning topics from William Dresbach himself, to ghosts, space, water, fruit, electricity, fire, and money, and mail, the show creates a sensory experience available to an audience of all ages. The show begins with simple shapes and colors, and builds to a crescendo of visual imagery and music, representing the added character and history the house has seen over time. The projection attempts to engage the audience in this historic home in a new and unique way, while being rooted in the visual iconography of the history of the city.


Process

After mapping the Dresbach-Boyer-Hunt Mansion with Adobe Illustrator, we used Adobe AfterEffects to animate based on the dimensions and details of the house. Our typical process involved animating a segment, and testing it on the facade between the hours of 12am and 1am, to ensure darkness and privacy. We found that some segments that looked good on our computer screen did not always translate effectively on a large scale on the actual facade of the house. After 2 weeks of test and adjust, we felt satisfied the presentation to present it to the public.


 

Final presentation

The final installation was shown to the public on May 26, 2017, as a part of the City of Davis's Projecting the Past: A Century of Davis in Light walking tour. Personally, this was one of my favorite projects I have worked on, and the late nights of animating and testing were worth it after seeing the overwhelmingly positive audience reaction.