Thermal images and new technology at the Barbican

An extraordinary new exhibition at the Barbican uses a military camera capable of detecting an individual from 30.3km distance, day or night, to make a visceral three-channel video installation about the journeys of refugees fleeing conflict.

Christie M Series 3DLP projectors were designed with features able to show the luminous footage, with remarkable detail and clarity, at a greatly enlarged size. The immersive quality of the projection not only underlines how technology is putting new tools in the hands of artists, but how those tools combine to create new art forms, content possibilities and – ultimately – new experiences to keep audiences engaged. “We’ve had a record 20,000 visitors in three weeks with over 2,400 on the opening weekend,” said Alona Pardo, curator at the Barbican.

For Incoming, conceptual documentary photographer and Deutsche Börse Photography Prize winner Richard Mosse worked in collaboration with composer Ben Frost and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten. They followed refugees trying to flee on foot, by boat or on vehicle. The camera’s extraordinary telephoto capability can pick up staggering details of the human form from a great distance. In turn, the 3DLP Christie M Series can translate that level of detail because it is designed to maximise every facet of the video pathway. Projecting along the wall are three Christie HD10K-M (3-DLP, 1080P, 11,000 lm) projectors, with dual lamp Lens. When enlarged in a three-channel display over the curved wall of The Barbican, even a human hair filmed from hundreds of metres appears crisply articulated.

Mosse followed refugees on two perilous migrant routes through the Sahara Desert, north to Libya and the Mediterranean Sea, and across the Middle East to the Aegean Sea, and overland across the Balkans towards northern Europe. The piece was made across three continents, intercepting refugees at various points along their path. “War artists used to send pen and ink drawings to newspapers,” commented James Belso, senior sales manager at Christie. “With technology, the 21st t century equivalent gives audience an immersive, shared experience of a topical subject and in a surprisingly intimate way.”

“It was breath-taking to see the initial test footage on the Christie projector within The Curve at the Barbican — the high-end projection technology married to this very unusual military surveillance technology created an experience that felt entirely new, shockingly unfamiliar, and beautifully articulated,” said Mosse.

Simon Smith, vice president of Christie EMEA, said, “Richard Mosse has created a cinematic tour de force that is stunning, compelling and topical. The curve in the Barbican is the perfect space for people to enjoy such a major work. The technical innovation used, and how it works with the projection, underlines the strength of Christie’s partnership with the Barbican as a force to bring new and exciting audience experiences.”


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