Street Mapping Light Show: Astronauts in Helsinki at Slush

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Most people tend to think that space is something very far away from us, and not really relevant to our daily lives. Space seems to be something ?out there?, not connected to us. But if we stop and think about it, we live on Earth, which is a part of space. Space is our home.

Space Nation?s mission is to bring space closer to people, and make it more relatable. How do we do that? One way is to offer people genuine and surprising space experiences on Earth.

During the startup conference Slush17 in Helsinki, Space Nation presented a street mapping light show called Astronauts in Helsinki. The mastermind behind this idea is the Head of Design at Space Nation, Sami Sorvali.

?For me, Space Nation is about creating relevant and interesting content for people. Most of all it is a creative playground. We want re-brand space, and challenge the way space is seen currently. Bringing amazement to the world with the element of surprise – that?s why we created the street mapping light show, to bring people a ?Space on Earth? experience,? Sorvali says.

A Projected Video Show

?A projected video can be many different kinds of things,? explains Sorvali, ?You can do a light show on a static surface, or make it so the background constantly changes. With our project Astronauts in Helsinki, we wanted to reach as many people as possible, so we decided to do the projection from moving cars. The idea is to project an image of an astronaut onto building walls all around Helsinki. We are bringing astronauts among regular citizens, to make them think about their perspective of space and space travel. With projections we wanted to bring space closer to people and take urban space as use. ?


Sorvali has more than ten years experience creating these types of projections and video mapping, and the technology has evolved a lot from the early days.

?It?s amazing what we can create using only light. For me, the aspect of art meeting technology is the most fascinating thing. Different lighting and backgrounds change the image, even though the image itself stays the same.?

Sorvali cites a French group called 1024 Architecture, which specializes in light and video design, as a source of inspiration. They have done massive amount of projects for very different kinds of purposes and clients.

The most memorable project Sorvali ever created in his career was in 2013, when Helsinki was the World Design Capital. He was part of a team that created a light show at a location that he had always dreamed of – Helsinki Cathedral and the Senate Square where the church is located.

?One of the best things in the World Design Capital project was that our customer, World Design Organization and the city of Helsinki, gave us free reign to create something spectacular. I’m excited we at Space Nation are doing something spectacular with the Astronauts in Helsinki project.?

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