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Tate, Sigur Rós, House of Greenland and Phantom collaborated to create States of Matter, an interactive video experience exploring the past, present and future of Tate Modern.

The new Tate Modern extension aims to redefine the museum of the twenty-first century: more spaces for Tate’s collection, for performance and installation art, and for learning, all allowing visitors to engage more deeply with modern and contemporary art.

As the concept of reinforcing the link between human and matter needs illustrating, this video aims to play on interaction: viewers will face four video layers, each associated to a musical stem of a synchronised soundtrack. They have the opportunity to deactivate and reactivate layers of the video, thereby muting the associated musical stems and exploring the intricacy of each one of them.

This partnership with House of Greenland is exactly the kind of innovative project I want to share with Tate’s audiences. Technical nous and creative thinking at the fore, inspired by the new Tate Modern.', Susan Doyon, Head of Content (Special Projects) at Tate.

CHALLENGE

How to create an artistic video experience about the opening of Tate Modern’s extension while avoiding the pitfalls of turning it into a promotional video?

CONTEXT

Tate approached House of Greenland for the creation of an interactive video experience under the scope of their TateShots programme. House of Greenland saw an amazing opportunity to feature the new Tate Modern’s extension in a raw state, before its opening to the public.

CREATIVE

Through various exchanges with Tate, House of Greenland and the digital agency Phantom, who agreed to collaborate on this project, House of Greenland proposed and refined a concept of interactive, multilayered video experience. The experience would revolve around the exploration of the past, present and future of Tate Modern, seen with reference to the history of the Bankside power station that hosts it. The project now had a name: States of Matter.

Early concept of the video experience

Early concept of the video experience

photo credit: House of Greenland

Early moodboards for Liquid and Plasma tracks

Early moodboards for Liquid and Plasma tracks

photo credit: Léa Carteaux


MUSIC

From its inception, House of Greenland intended the experience to be very musical in its nature. Viewers would be able to activate and deactivate video layers and their associated musical stems. The team was aiming for an eerie experience with dark undertones and naturally thought of Sigur Rós as a perfect fit for the project. Everyone was absolutely delighted when Orri and Georg agreed to create the track after a short creative discussion.

IMAGE

House of Greenland figured out the storyboard as the music was being developed, in constant collaboration with Sigur Rós and Tate, in order to make sure each stem of the track would explore a specific theme within the overarching concepts of States of Matter.

The Liquid track would observe a living fluid in the Drum, in Tate Modern’s extension.

The Solid track would parallel archive footage with the lobby of the extension.

The Air track would follow mysterious workers and a box in the extension’s upper floors.

The Plasma track would explore the shell of the extension through modified drone footage.

Early moodboards for Liquid and Plasma tracks

Early moodboards for Liquid and Plasma tracks

photo credit: Léa Carteaux

SHOOT

House of Greenland first visited the busy construction site of Tate Modern’s extension in order to best arrange the shoot around the construction’s requirements. Once everything was sorted, they assembled a team to shoot all the footage they would need for the experience.

Myriam, Agathe, Martin and Lucas

Myriam, Agathe, Martin and Lucas

photo credit: Léa Carteaux

Our patient extras, and our patient box

Our patient extras, and our patient box

photo credit: Léa Carteaux


POST PRODUCTION

In addition to matching all tracks to the music and to developing the intricate interactive video player, production also needed extensive CGI work on the Liquid and Plasma tracks. Moto were the ones in charge, and did a fantastic job.

Matching of the camera movements between the Liquid and the Plasma tracks

Matching of the camera movements between the Liquid and the Plasma tracks

photo credit: Léa Carteaux

The playlist of videos can be found here.

This article is by House of Greenland.