Brussels Airport recently dipped its toe into the world of projection mapping in an art-themed lounge currently dedicated to the work of Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. Even if you’re not a fan of art or history, chances are you’re no stranger to the biblically and mythologically infused work of Rubens as it has seeped into the vernacular of modern culture, hence the term ‘Rubenesque’ as a synonym for the sensual magnetism of full-figured, cherubic and plus-sized figures throughout history.
In this case, his 1636 work The Feast of Venus was the focal point, and the cherubic figure here was none other than Cupid. Thanks to Belgian company SkullMapping and the commission of the area’s official tourist agency VisitFlanders, the technology makes it appear as if Cupid is breaking out of the painting and flying around to inspire love amongst the airport’s passengers waiting for flights of their own. See the video below:
This is hardly SkullMapping’s first foray into such a project. In 2015, the company had a hit with its projection called Petit Chef, which projected the story of a busy little chef onto customers’ plates as their dishes were being cooked. In other words, SkullMapping’s Antoon Verbeeck and Filip Sterck are proving that projection mapping doesn’t have to be limited to larger-than-life canvases or event spectacles. In some instances, such as this, small-scale mapping projections or “mini-mapping” can actually be more intimate, surprising and affecting – like the equivalent of chamber music for projected installations.
Rubens’ digital Cupid ‘will fly’ until April 2019, and then it will be replaced by new artworks inspired by Brueghel. Whether that refers to the Elder, the Younger or some other member of the Dutch/Flemish painter family is unclear at this point. Either way, we’re guessing that the mini-mapping in that case will have something to do with The Tower of Babel or Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.