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The Merciv Playground An immersive + interactive media experience

This is the Merciv Playground - a senior capstone project pioneered by Cam Lindsay and Jacob Fishman of the Iovine and Young Academy. I started this project working on elements such as experience design and art direction, and ended by working on an experiential branding project with Acura.

Springfest - USC's Spring Concert Series

The Merciv Playground was held at USC's Spring Concert Series - Springfest. Students could take a break from the mainstage and explore the playground which featured media walls, projection mapping, body tracking visuals, and an augmented reality video game.

The Direction

The theme for this year's Springfest was "retro video games" and instead of going in the artistic direction of "8-bit" like the main concert series, the playground favored more of a neon 80s style with a heavy emphasis on colored lighting.

Head's Up

One of the first tasks of the experience team was to decide on a sculptural piece that would sit in the center of the park. We ideated with inspiration such as Tron and early IBM ads and eventually decided the sculpture would be polygonal in nature. It was originally going to be two wireframe hands touching evoking a "creation of Adam" vibe, but it evolved into the geometric head seen in the final photos. We decided that the head would be easy to projection map onto and we could create an exciting media experience by experimenting with new technologies. The construction of the head was carried out by Casey Reich and Nina Cragg.

I personally like when we had to roll the head onto the concert grounds. We used a small cart and you can see that it looks like it's levitating in one of those photos. If I had the chance again I would keep it levitated and put lights underneath to give it a colored shadow.

Bringing Music To Life

The heart of the project was to find a way to twist the kaleidoscope on what it meant to have a "music experience". Students were able to play around with music environments through interactivity and that interactivity inspired a sense of ownership with the experience.

The Acura Experience

My main contribution to this project was coordinating a brand partnership with Acura. We were approached by a group at USC which had connections at Acura and explained that they would give us sponsorship money if we found a creative way to market a 2019 Acura ILX as part of the experience.

I sought to assemble a team of people who had skillsets in 3D design, art direction, projection mapping, and videography. Together, we developed a series of concepts and executed on them successfully.

We started with moodboards and concept drawings. Inspiration was drawn from KITH and the way they combined plants and concrete in their aesthetic.

Art Direction: Eddie Mandell

Drawing: Emily Lu

Drawings turned into renderings to better illustrate our concept. I like the look of the reflective material in this rendering which reflects the car in 3 different instances. The house of mirrors effect gives the car a significant presence. In the end we decided to make all the walls green and drape them in foliage with neon lights.

CAD Design and Visuals: Andrew Hulin

The car was moved into place and we created an experience mixing light, and foliage emphasizing the adventurous nature of the car and the sleek, luxurious feeling of how light bends around it.

Visual content: Michel Faliski

Projection: Ethan Bresnick

Why even have a car if you don't have a car photoshoot with your influencer friends?

Model: Vanessa Qin @vqeu

Thank you for reading!

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