Art

Sprite Symphony: fairies trapped inside jam jars

Is that Tinkerbell in a jam jar? And I thought they said fairies aren’t real! In 2011, creative couple Davy & Kristin McGuire created ‘The Icebook’, the world’s first projection mapped pop-up book. The beautiful mix between paper cut-outs and video projection became a viral sensation, eventually leading them to a commission from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Their instruction: to do something magical. How? Inspired by the Cottingley Fairies, a series of hoax photos back in 1917 that made many believe in fairies, they decided to do something similar with live projections. Working this time without paper cut-outs, they used a live Augmented Reality installation to project holographic fairies into jam jars.

Called ‘Sprite Symphony’, the magical installation shows trapped fairies trying to escape their glass cages. As a result of their attempt to flee, their knocking on the glass creates a polyphonic musical composition, turning the entire gallery into a fantastical scene of light and sound.

Asked on how they did it, Davy McGuire said: ‘So as not to spoil the magic too much, a lot of how we did it will remain a bit of a secret. What we can tell you is that all of the apparatus needed to create the illusion is contained within the fairy cases. We use a combination of pico projectors, a Raspberry Pi (mini computer) and mirrors. We also film the fairies (who are all Kristin) on a green screen and use After Effects to key out the green and add fairy wings’. He also adds that no pos-production techniques were used and was filmed straight from the camera.

And here’s the coolest part. The fairies are for sale on their website!

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About the author

Inigo is a writer and graphic designer from Manila, Philippines. He is a soldier of love who will carry you on his strong back of awesomeness when the zombie apocalypse arrives.