Our first projection mapping event
without a live audience

Monday, May 4th 2020

 

Wageningen, The City of Liberation

2020 is the year that we commemorate 75 years of freedom since the end of World War II. Every year since the end of the war in 1945, May 4th and 5th are dedicated to commemorating the heroes and celebrating our freedom. May 4th is the national Remembrance of the Dead (Dodenherdenking) – honoring the soldiers and civilians who fought for our freedom and all the victims who fell during times of war. On the night of 4th to 5th of May, the Freedom Fire is lit on the historically important location in front of ‘Hotel de Wereld’.

The Freedom Fire (Vrijheidsvuur) is a national symbol commemorating the end of World War II in the Netherlands. Wageningen is considered the City of Liberation, as this is where the capitulation was signed in the town’s ‘Hotel de Wereld’ in 1945.  Annually, WWII veterans gather in Wageningen to tell their stories and pass on the Freedom Fire. This moment is an important part of the transition into May 5th: Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag). Throughout the country, many Liberation festivals are held celebrating our freedom and this year was marked to be a big ceremonial event, commemorating 75 years of freedom.

 

Loation foto of Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen, the netherlands

graphic designs of veterans of world war II Mr.Beam

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 crisis we are not able to celebrate it together as planned. Freedom means a lot to us, especially these days when many find themselves limited in their personal freedom. We are designing this projection mapping work to spark a light of positivity and to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom 75 years ago.

By lighting up the building of ‘Hotel de Wereld’ live on national television, we hope to digitally pass on the ‘flame’ that represents our freedom and the heroes who paid the price for it. Also in current circumstances all around the world, many heroes are fighting daily to save lives. Collectively, we will pay an homage to the heroes of the past and those of today. 

 

Projection Mapping event without a live audience

For over 10 years, we have been creating immersive experiences in front of hundreds of people. But this one was our first without a live audience to experience the work. The audience has been replaced by cameras, so we worked with the right camera angles and synchronization of the recording with the audio and voice over by Noortje Herlaar in mind, making sure the animations would come to life on your TV-screen at home. 

An empty square in front of the projections not only changed our technical approach, but it also took away the synergy that happens on location. 

Live events aren’t for entertainment purposes only, but it’s a chance to share a collective experience and emotions. It’s that moment when we’ll see our work coming to life in front of an audience for the first time, feeding off of their energy and excitement. It’s always a magical feeling being able to touch others through our artwork. Can we (re)create such an interaction and community building online? 

Over the course of the last few months, more and more people are finding creative ways to communicate with their audience. Musicians are offering live concerts online and others find ways to create a digital audience for artists to perform to, like Project Touchscreen. No matter how challenging the situation is right now, we can still celebrate the fact that we’re free and able to communicate with each other through different kinds of media. 

Within the process of this particular project, communication became more important than before. Not only did we make our regular production process completely digital, having online feedback moments and meetings, but our online communication had to be adjusted accordingly. Out of concerns that the event would make people gather in front of the building, every involved party had to treat online communication with great caution.

As a community, our first priority is to make sure that everyone is safe. Secondly our goal was honoring the heroes of World War II, that sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We wanted to show our support to the veterans and their families as the 75th commemoration couldn’t be celebrated the way it deserves to. 

 

 

Graphic design for the commemoration of 75 years of freedom Wageningen by Mr.Beam

History has taught us how important our freedom is, and it’s even more tangible nowadays when we need to find a balance between our personal freedom and the responsibilities we have for one another. It teaches us not to take our freedom for granted, and the importance of reaching out to help and support each other. 

Although having to take a slightly different approach in process, we see this project as a beautiful opportunity for community building and connectivity in times like these. To give you a richer experience about the story of ‘Freedom Fire’, we will give you an insight behind the scenes of Mr.Beam creative studio and share video’s about our process with you over the course of the coming weeks.