Skip to main content
Christie Digital Christie Digital
Inspiration 5 Min Read

From passion to projection mapping

May 09, 2024

Bianca Turner and Fred Ebami talk about their art, inspiration, and video mapping in Lille, France

In this piece:

The Video Mapping Festival in Lille, France, is a global gathering of artists. Spanning a three-kilometer route in the city center, the festival transforms landmarks and buildings with a vibrant kaleidoscope of color.  

While visitors enjoy projection mapping, artists compete to win the Grand Prize or Audience Prize. A last-minute addition was the Jury Special Mention, which was awarded to the talented duo of Fred Ebami and Bianca Turner.  

A large façade is projection mapped with images of stylized cats.

Bianca and Fred’s “Breaking the Walls” won the Jury Special Mention award at the Video Mapping Festival. Photo credit: Bianca Turner

Join us as we catch up with Fred and Bianca after the festival to talk about their work, where they find inspiration, how they got their start in projection mapping, and the challenges they face along the way. 

France, Brazil, and London 

Long before Bianca and Fred transformed the façade of the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille with their art, they were on separate paths, each with a unique focus.  

Bianca is Brazilian, based in São Paulo, but she lived in London while she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at University of the Arts London - Central Saint Martins. It was at university that she discovered her passion for video mapping. “My main focus was on the use of video projection as scenography —- as set design, costume design, and as dramaturgy — as well as video projection into surfaces,” says Bianca. “It can be the facçade of a building, or it can be the body.”  

Fred’s educational background is in graphic design, and pop art is his specialty. Based in France, he’s a visual artist who primarily exhibits in art galleries, so projection mapping is a newer medium for him.  

A women poses in front of a large building that is illuminated with a projector test pattern.

Bianca poses in front of the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille, France. Photo credit: Fred Ebami

“Bianca and I met during a residency, and I really loved her work. I approached her, and I said, ‘Making my images move is something I’ve always wanted to do’,” says Fred. “She saw my work and she became interested in what I was doing. And shyly, I said to her, if you want to work with me, I’ll be there.”

Finding inspiration in the past 

Bianca was initially fascinated with projection mapping as a medium because “it allows us to overlap time and space,” she says.  Now, her work also incorporates political themes. “Projection mapping creates something magical,” she says. “I think when you create something very beautiful, there is a space for talking about politics in a less aggressive way.”  

Fred points to the superhero comics he read as a child as inspiration. “I would get frustrated when watching conflict unfold on TV and the superheroes weren't there. And then I realized that the real superheroes are everyday people: firefighters, nurses, doctors, people that really save lives,” says Fred. He reflects these everyday heroes in his art.  

Always learning 

When we asked Fred, “What skills do you need to be successful with projection mapping?” he laughed. “I think every project challenges me to gain a new technical skill!” He’s self-taught and learns on the go, with help from Bianca. 

Bianca echos Fred’s sentiments. “I’m self-taught from the challenges,” she says. However, she draws on her background in set design, which helps her understand the nuances of different projection mapping surfaces. “My first technical concern is the surface. Some surfaces are colorful, or they have more volume, with windows and columns, like in Lille. A surface like that tells me that I have little areas that I can put content into.” 

Bianca has experience working with limited resources. “I think being Brazilian is dealing with low budgets,” she says. “It's about doing what you can with the time and resources that you have. Without a budget, I don’t have anyone to help me—like a technical team—so I have to do everything myself.” 

The façade of a building is projection mapped with various colors and patterns.

Bianca and Fred’s “Breaking the Walls” lights up the Palais des Beaux-Arts at the Video Mapping Festival. Photo credit: Bianca Turner

Being self-taught creates interesting dynamics and challenges for Bianca when she works on new projects. “It’s a very male-dominated field. When I have a conversation with some technicians, I have to wait for them to explain to me what I already know, because they don’t expect me to have any technical expertise.” But she holds out hope for the industry. “I can see more women coming into this field, and Lille was well-represented.” 

Award-winning art at Lille 

The Video Mapping Festival was an opportunity for Bianca and Fred to see and learn about what's happening with projection mapping in Europe. “I was really impressed by the conferences, the quality of the art, and the number of women involved in the festival. It offered a space for artists who are not so huge or well-known,” she adds. 

“Can you hear how excited Bianca is?” says Fred, “I was petrified! I would have never seen myself there if it wasn’t for Bianca. I finally saw my dream become a reality.” 

Fred and Bianca’s project, “Breaking the walls”, won the Jury Special Mention award. Their piece is described online by the Video Mapping Festival as telling “the stories of those never mentioned, the workers, those behind the walls, the buildings, cleaning, welcoming, the ones who make the building alive and existing.” 

(Left) A man and woman stand side-by-side in front of a podium. (Right) Two men stand on a stage in front of a podium.

Bianca (left) and Fred (right) pose with Krzysztof Wodiczko, the keynote speaker at the Image Beyond the Screen International Conference (IBSIC) conference that took place during the festival.

The festival left an impression on Bianca and Fred. “I was super, super excited, happy, and I felt blessed to have the opportunity to show our work,” says Bianca. This was the first time that they'd seen their work projected with high-brightness projectors. Christie supplied two 40,000-lumen 3DLP® projectors, which were stacked and blended to illuminate the Palais des Beaux-Arts.  

“I will say to anybody that's an artist: do it,” adds Fred.

As a sponsor of the Video Mapping Festival, Christie provided technical expertise and solutions, including RGB pure laser projectors and our Pandoras Box Software for show control, along with a monetary prize for the projection mapping content.