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FRAMES is a projection mapping piece on picture frames. The frames are the crux of this project -- it is inspired by, and plays with, the materiality of the frames.

produced by: Keita Ikeda


Though very flat at first glance, the physical and semiotic qualities of picture frames allow for an interesting layering effect.  They give us three layers to play with: the frame itself, the inside of the frame, and outside of it. This 2-minute piece focuses on the contents inside of the frames, and its interaction with the frames. The goal was to experiment and play with the shape and the physicality of the frames.

Concept and background research

Through watching documentation of other projection mapping projects, I quickly realised that the strongest pieces were those that engage with the physicality of the objects that are being projected onto. Rather than treating them as mere surfaces, these projects played with, and sometimes subverted, the viewer's conception of what this object was. Successful large-scale projects play with the architecture of buildings, for example, by apparently twisting and extruding parts of it. With this in mind, I sought to create work that would only be possible with frames as its projection surfaces.

A picture frame is an object that creates physical and semiotic boundaries between an artwork and the viewer. I thought it'd be interesting to treat this apparent boundary as a site of artistic expression. In this piece, rather than merely framing its contents, the frame interacts with, and in some occasions even determines, how the work progresses over time. Balls bounce off of frames, lighting up as it changes their directions.

The entire piece is in black and white to highlight the colours and textures of the frames when projected on, almost as if glowing.

In short, this is a piece about frames, with frames.



The firework-like animation is a variation of cellular automata. Each cell holds eight boolean values, containing information about in which direction the "explosion" is going. As in other CA programs, it checks each cell's neighbours to determine the next set of states.

Future development

Projecting on the walls around the frames and projecting on actual paintings.

Self evaluation

I feel that having the frames as a conceptual and physical constraint was useful. Having worked mostly with displays, it was refreshing and challenging to engage with physical objects. Having said that, I may have concerned myself too much with whether the work engaged with the frames -- I would have liked to have more scenes in hindsight.


Daniel Shiffman. "Cellular Automata", Nature of Code,