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Día De Los Muertos "Dance With The Dead" Interactive Installation

Bernstein & Andriulli artists celebrate the spirits with Jose Cuervo

by David Graver
on 03 November 2017

The boundless artistry encompassing Día De Los Muertos manifests in so many magnificent ways. Artist management agency Bernstein & Andriulli (B&A) not only understands this, they sought to present the most future-forward display of it by way of a one-night-only exhibition in NYC's SoHo neighborhood. It was a series of centerpiece installations at Jose Cuervo's Day of the Dead party—where Tradicional Silver cocktails and dancing met with the macabre. B&A, along with Creative Director Brian Schmitt, tapped illustrator Llew Mejia to draw 2D skeletons. Partnering with 3D technology storytellers Sensorium, Mejia's drawings were given life in multiple interactive ways. Thus, the event came complete with dancing real-time projections of skeletons, an immersive VR adventure of brilliant color and a choreographed performance that was equal parts tactile and digital.

Mejia worked closely with Sensorium—and creative and technical directors John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhauser. "I worked with them directly to transform the drawings into 3D mode," he says to us. His route, stylistically, was to "keep it simple, because it's a human skeleton—it's recognizable and easy to understand how it moves so long as things are in the right place," he explains. "When I was designing it, though, I knew it couldn't be anatomically perfect. It wouldn't work. It would be too over-the-top and morbid as opposed to cartoon-like, with lightness."

It was the breadth of the experience that warrants the most attention. The Sensorium-produced VR tale was a simple, colorful execution of the medium—and exactly what was needed. The dancing skeleton projections actually affixed themselves to certain human guests, thanks to Microsoft Kinect cameras. And the choreographed dance routine paired human with projection through motion capture. With a Tradicional Silver Paloma, Activated-Charcoal Margarita or Diablo in hand, guests really received an exciting, energized and artistic tutorial on 3D's capabilities.

First two images courtesy of Jose Cuervo, last image courtesy of Sensorium

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