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Ohio State student project to illuminate campus building

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OSU students’ class finals are projected on the South Campus Central Chiller Plant Nov. 14. OSU students are set to display their projects Nov. 18 through 25. Credit: Courtesy of Mary Tarantino

OSU students’ class finals are projected on the South Campus Central Chiller Plant Nov. 14. OSU students are set to display their projects Nov. 18 through 25.
Credit: Courtesy of Mary Tarantino

Twelve students plan to illuminate an Ohio State building this week as their class final.

The students, who are taking Advanced Topics in Lighting Technology, are set to project their group projects on the South Campus Central Chiller Plant in the form of animation sequences, said Mary Tarantino, resident lighting designer and professor of theatre who teaches the class.

“What students have done is created digital animations, and they have been asked to research and examine the function of the chiller plant and respond to it in their concepts and approach to creating those animations,” Tarantino said.

The building helps cool and distribute water throughout the Wexner Medical Center.

The projection of the students’ projects is set to launch Monday at 8 p.m. The chiller plant is scheduled to reflect the projections through Nov. 25, she said, and the display will play in a continuous loop from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night.

The projection is a form of architainment, a way of fusing architecture and entertainment in a visually stimulating way, Tarantino said.

The class and its pursuant architectural and lighting projects came about after Tarantino secured a Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs Endowment. Tarantino said the grant is worth nearly $60,000 and supported the exercises and students throughout the semester, including the final.

Alex Oliszewski, an assistant professor of media design for live performance and installation, helped the students create content for the large-scale projection.

Tarantino said Oliszewski guided the project into an actual display.

“(Oliszewski) is functioning essentially as the art director and composing these various students’ teams’ animations into a cohesive whole,” Tarantino said.

Sequences were primarily created with the use of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Illustrator.

“Some of them created all of their content from scratch,” Oliszewski said. “Others used found footage and then adapted it and edited it.”

He said one group was inspired by athletics, given the chiller plant’s proximity to Ohio Stadium and the soccer fields.

“They basically did a sort of sports-focused animation that takes our school mascot, Brutus, and Brutus takes on the role of a Mario-type character,” Oliszewski said. “He climbs up the side of the building and battles with our Bowser stand-in, this big Wolverine.”

Some of the students involved said many of the sequences are inspired by life at OSU or the building’s functionality.

“We have a two-part projection that we’ve developed. One of them is an Ohio State animation where different things come together — images from Ohio State life — and create a Block ‘O,’” said Shane Freebourn, a graduate student in architecture. “The second half is about water because the building is moving a lot of water around.”

Freebourn helped compile content for the Block “O” portion of his teams’ sequence and added creative input for the water portion, he said.

Architecture graduate student Stephanie Sang Delgado said her group’s sequences highlight the facade of the chiller plant and the “programmatic function of the building in a more animated, fun abstract way.”

Oliszewski and Tarantino also created content for the building’s facade, Oliszewski said.

“There are five movements to this. They all flow one into the other … that comprises approximately 20 minutes of content that will be looping over the course of the evenings,” Oliszewski said.

Two projectors will be mounted about 175 feet away from the building in an adjacent parking lot to project the images, Oliszewski said.

Part of the goal in procuring the grant and the projection task to follow was to study light with a holistic point of view and understand how light impacts life, she said, as well as to engage the community.

“Part of the students’ responsibilities will be to interface with passersby and talk about the research and ask them questions about what they see,” she said.

Oliszewski said the project has afforded students an “amazing” chance.

“I don’t know of any other university where students would have access to this quality of equipment or have access to this type of opportunity,” he said.

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