Responses by Joel Krieger, executive creative director, Second Story
Background: Ecoterica was an art installation commissioned for Epson’s presence at Infocomm 2019, one of the largest tech and audiovisual events devoted to what’s next. Our audiences were members of the professional AV community. Our goal was to build an immersive experience using Epson’s line of powerful new projector technology to attract and engage visitors.
Reasoning: Infocomm is a stimulating, sensory-overload type of environment. So, we opted to create a respite from that world—a calming and meditative cocoon where visitors could escape the hectic chaos outside. Our clients asked us to follow our curiosity and use the projectors in a novel way, so our brief was quite broad and liberating. Our collective conversations naturally flowed toward our culture’s profound disconnection from the natural world and the impacts of our collective behavior on our environment.
Challenges: We were given the liberty to explore our curiosities and use the Epson hardware in novel ways, so we went through countess iterations of prototypes using different materials and layering techniques. One of the hardest parts was converging upon the right material and tech approach to achieve the effect we wanted.
Favorite details: Ecoterica is a great example of how you can use design to serve the needs of your client, while creating something with a higher purpose. When visitors walked in, they wondered where the images were coming from, sparking real conversations between the Epson team and visitors. By clearing the way for a purely immersive story, people were willing to stay much longer. Our hope was that our installation helped people reflect upon their relationship to technology and the natural world, contributing to the emerging conversation about our collective separation from nature.
Visual influences: There was a kaleidoscopic, fractal influence. Our ambition was to remix elements of flora and fauna to create these mesmerizing moving emblems, by playing off the forms and structure of characters of the alphabet, whose marks have symbolic meaning behind them. There’s plenty of symmetry and repetition, but we also had fun just letting the organic shapes, colors and patterns of plants and animals lead us to the final form of each emblem.
Anything new: With the central column of four panels, we had offset the animation by a quarter second on each panel, so you have this trippy waterfall delay effect happening. One visitor found a chair and placed it right in front of the central panel and just sat there for twenty minutes, staring into the void. As this piece was meant to be viewed in the round, we hadn’t considered calling out specific viewing points, but this was a great revelation that might make it into the next iteration of Ecoterica.