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Nexus Interactive Arts Creates Beautiful Responsive Artwork for Dulwich Picture Gallery

Nexus, 7 months, 2 weeks ago

'Forest Folk' is an extension of the ‘Nikolai Astrup: Painting Norway’ exhibition

Nexus Interactive Arts Creates Beautiful Responsive Artwork for Dulwich Picture Gallery

Nexus Interactive Arts (NIA) has been commissioned to produce an original installation for Dulwich Picture Gallery. Entitled “Forest Folk”, the responsive installation is an extension of the ‘Nikolai Astrup: Painting Norway’ exhibition taking place from the 5th February to the 15th May 2016. 

The exhibition brings to London one of Norway’s finest twentieth-century landscape artists, and as part of a continuative narrative, NIA had carte blanche to create a complementary piece, drawing on Astrup’s central themes of transformation, mythology and Nordic magic.

The installation aims to attract a new audience to the Gallery that is not familiar with the work of Astrup. Forest Folk offers an abstract alternative to a world where reality and the surreal are blended together in unexpected moments. The visitor’s curiosity is rewarded, as they are encouraged to move towards two impressive 75” digital 4k screens. Set up as a diptych between symmetrical arches, dormant camouflaged figures slowly awaken from their idle state and trigger the artwork to morph into a living and breathing entity.

Through the combination of custom software and motion sensor cameras, the artwork is able to track the movements of the individual viewer. This allows the visitors to trigger hidden elements, such as waking sleeping mythological creatures hidden within the composition or changing the seasons from Spring flowers and Summer berries to Autumnal leaves and stark Winter bark. Every element in the composition was shot in live-action against a green screen, then composited together to form the overall image.

The displays are situated inside the Gallery’s very own mausoleum, and are immersed in the diegetic sounds of a natural forest, which when mixed with a low melody of cellos submerges audiences within the hauntingly dark atmosphere.

Director Matt Jakob creates a pictorial quality that allows the artwork to embody Astrup’s style, whilst remaining interactive and modern at its core.

Matt Jakob, Project Director and Head of Creative Technologies, NIA says, “Forest Folk is a truly organic piece and a first in terms of delivering such high quality, real-time animations on such a large scale. It was imperative that we harnessed Astrup’s mythological aesthetic, in order to create something that would still have pictorial quality within a digital format.”

You can see the work in action here: 


Animation Company: Nexus Animation Studio

Creative Agency

Executive Creative Director: Chris O'Reilly

Creative Agency: Nexus Interactive Arts

Project Director: Matt Jakob

Head of Creative Technology: Matt Jakob

Music and Sound

Artist: (Cello) Valerie Welbanks

Sound Design: Tim Harrison

Sound Production: Aumeta

Post Production / VFX

CG: Dave Walker (Supervisor)

Compositor: Elliott Kajdan

Studio: Natalie Busuttil (Manager), Alexia Provoost (Assist Manager)

Production Company


Art Director : LIZ MELINEK

Concept Artists: Russell M. Hossain

Creative Director: Evan Boehm


Executive Producer: Luke Ritchie

Producer: Sarah Arruda, Beccy McCray (Development)

Producers: Jess aan de Wiel (Live Action)

Production Assistant: Lily Roberts, Orchid Vishkaiy

Production Manager: Tom Cullen (Live Action)

Category: Museums and galleries , Sports and leisure

Genre: Animation , Experiential , Music performance , Visual VFX