Tessa used to be a regular guest at the well known Studio 80 on Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein. She would come here to dance, celebrate and have a good time on the weekends. Eventually becoming a part of the Studio 80 family. Knowing Tessa, it doesn’t seem very surprising, that the management has asked and offered her a place as the door host, as I have gotten to know her as a very friendly and warm personality.
She is obviously fascinated and driven by the music, the vibe and the immense sense of freedom, which a club can provide. Letting a feeling of time escape and falling full body into music and dance.
She became a very familiar face over the years working her way up into the management, knowing almost everybody who came to visit the “Studio” regularly. However Tessa has a huge thing for hats, head pieces and the occasional costume. She would change outfits and if you only met her a couple of times like I did, you might not recognize her.
Studio 80 sadly shut it’s doors at the end of January 2016, however they did so with one hell of a goodbye. I have rarely heard such good music, in such exciting ways and locations.
With this assignment coming up and all of this fresh on my mind, it seemed like the perfect idea to do a head piece on the young, hat fascinated lady, who made this great club what it was. However there is one more factor, that we figured out a little later; She was the first “Amsterdammer” I have talked to, when driving from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam with my dear friend Martin, to hear some real music. It was her time of working as the door host.
In Studio 80 there was always a sense of moving. Wether this was a graphic design, a light installation or just playing records while sitting on the couch for a big audience at the goodbye event. The Studio 80 people would come up with the craziest concepts and all the guest would support this „hype“ without question.
Tessa obviously played a very social role in the club and as all of us know, it’s not easy getting along with everybody. Although I felt that she would be perfectly up to the challenge, I wanted to give her the ability to change her appearance quickly, but also to disappear when she feels the need to.
I recently got in touch with the idea of doing a projection and then mapping it onto a three dimensional object. For me it was something I always wanted to try and dig myself into, because I was absolutely curious what the outcome would be. This way I had the ability to change or to create scenarios for a lot of different situations. Which I felt could come in handy on an entire evening of meeting people and disco.
Deciding to move forward in this direction I felt it was time to talk to Tessa about my wish to do this project on, to ask her questions and to get a better feel of what makes and drives her. My main question was where Tessa draws the line between her very social & fun job and her own personal private live. She made it very clear to me, that this line exists boldly and that social media such as facebook benefits her with her work. Happy to hear that!
The goal for the next step was now to create a wide variety of content. For me this should include character change, light, darkness, motion but also graphic design. Of course the projection content should focus on the ability of disappearing as well as blending in and supporting a greatly motivated Amsterdam when it comes to music.
However first I had to figure out the technology. I found a basic projection mapping software named „Madmapper“ early during the project. After doing research on the software I understood, that the content would now have to be created using animation and cutting programs (like aftereffects and premiere pro). It would then be imported into the projection software and masked to the face it was later projected on.
Starting of with pens and paper I started experimenting what could be possible and although I was trying to come up with possible content, I was amazed how these lines, shapes and colors could change a face just like that.
After transforming a lot of these ideas into animation something was still missing. I felt, that something being human imagery. It did not yet make sense (almost alienating) to project something on a human face, not including any visual aspects of it. Filming the portrait of several people, I excluded some of their eyes, mouths, faces, to underline a certain feeling with an interesting visual response.
the green line is the mask for mapping it onto a real face
The last big challenge in this project was now, to tie together the pieces without telling a story. All the projection content is intended from me to leave the narrative to your imagination. This was especially hard, because a translation of one animation into the other felt storytelling to me in most cases.
I believe, that this projection could be something nice for Tessa to „wear/carry“. It does not only (as initially intended) give her the ability to hide and disappear, but also to show her mood or a need, and to enjoy herself.