Chinatown Lights

Historic Chinatown landmark was bedazzled and illuminated with color and dynamic imagery for the Lantern Festival

Chinatown Lights

San Francisco, February 27, 2021

Our team organised a projection mapping on one of the historic buildings in Chinatown while facilitating the collaboration of world-renowned creative studios, Mindscape Studio and Amber, with local artists.

The Goal: Bring positive impact and help the Chinatown community after a year in which they had witnessed loss to either the virus or violence. 

In partnership with the Chinatown Merchants Association and the local community, we presented a custom-designed visual display on the iconic Trade Mark Building at the outset of the annual Lantern Festival. 

The 3D art renderings and animations displayed on the Trade Mark building at Grant Avenue and California Street were designed to celebrate the Year of the Ox. The show was the highlight of the Chinese New Year celebrations in the neighborhood, with a lantern festival and parade with dancing dragons, Chinese dancers, and drummers.

The show content was created by the local artist Vida Kuang and developed in 3D by Mindscape Studio, based on the video-projector view. The media was mapped on the building using the 3D calibration process in Modulo Kinetic.

Located on Grant Avenue, one of the oldest streets in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the Trademark Building and its pagoda tower came to life thanks to Immersive, as they handled the technical production of the projection mapping. They worked with two Barco laser video-projectors with 40,000 lumens, and the Modulo Kinetic platform by Modulo Pi. The kit included one Modulo Kinetic Designer workstation, and two Modulo Kinetic V-Node servers equipped with 1 output.

To ensure a successful projection, the Immersive team worked with Modulo Kinetic for the 3D study.

In this one-night event, the projected artwork enchanted all with its fantastic splendour and enhanced the local neighbourhood’s magic and history.

Artist’s Statement 

<< As a community, we come into 2021 bearing the grief, instability, and struggles from last year. Collectively, Chinatown has witnessed the loss of our neighbors to either the virus or violence. Many have been risking their lives as essential workers to provide for their families and struggling to survive amidst economic oppression. In moments of immense hardship, people rose together through mutual aid and unity. 

Like in nature, the ox and oxpecker nurture each other’s existence because their survival is dependent on one another. They reflect ways community members care for one another, in full knowledge that our health is intertwined. We need each other to survive and thrive. This year, we look to the metal Ox as a guide for strength to create meaningful and lasting change. The Ox is powerful, hardworking and honest. She reminds us that in order for us to be free, we need to work together. The Ox tills the earth before we can reap the fruits of our labor. 

Unity and mutual aid hold deep roots in Chinatown’s history, it has always been a part of our legacy. >>

Vida Kuang 鄺楚瑩 :

Vida Kuang was raised by a Toisan matriarchy and the streets of Chinatown. She is an artist and educator. Her education is rooted in her family’s corner store, her work with youth in San Francisco, and community elders who mentor her growth. As a visual storyteller, her work centers her communities’ stories alongside the labor of past and present cultural workers, whose legacies keep her communities thriving. Her art practice is inspired by movements led by women of color for racial, gender, and economic justice. Vida’s work addresses the complexities and intersections of survival, healing, class struggle, and memory. She uses audio, illustration, photography, and mixed media as tools for storytelling. Vida believes storytelling is one of the most fundamental ways to decolonize herself and her communities’ hearts and minds towards collective liberation. @vida.kuang

The San Francisco Chinatown Merchants Association (SFCMA) is an independent community organization founded in 1991 dedicated to revitalizing commerce and tourism in one of America’s most unique historic neighborhoods and one of San Francisco’s top visitor attractions: Chinatown. 

Mindscape Studio is a multimedia and creative technology studio specialised in video mapping, event design and interactive installations. The people behind Mindscape Studio, always try to push the limits and accomplish the impossible. Their art directors, motion designers and technology specialists will always find a way to make everybody’s dreams come true. And all of this is in the name of love they have for image, colour, vibration and, most of all, new technology.

Mindscape Studio is the most award-winning video mapping studio from Romania. Their works have received awards at international festivals and events: Public Choice Award at iMapp 2018, 1st Place at Spotlight Festival 2018, Best Experimental Mapping and Best VJ Award at Visual Artist Awards 2018, Public Choice Award at iMapp 2015.

Amber is a game development agency built by a collective of artisans located in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Bucharest, Botosani, Guadalajara, and Montreal. The agency delivers a reference solution for creative work in interactive entertainment. Amber is structured as a network of studios with different specializations, which retains over 650 staff around the world. Established in 2013, it earned the trust of some of the most important players in the games space, such as The Walt Disney Company, NBC Universal, Paradox, Rovio, That Game Company, and Raw Fury, among many others.