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Skullmapping – Restrospective

Skullmapping – Retrospective

Imagine having your dinner prepared by a tiny chef in your plate, or waiting at the airport to be surprised by Cupid escaping one of Ruben’s famous painting, or even following a suspenseful fight between a monkey and an airplane inside an art gallery: Skullmapping’s creativity goes far to make the experience unforgettable.


After having created projects all over the world, they were presenting their first retrospective exhibition. The expo, “Skullmapping – Projected Art”, ran from the 18th of December 2021 to the 9th of January 2022 at the Grand Hyatt Berlin and from the 18th of March to the 5th of May 2022 in Mainz et the Frankfurter Hof.

Filip, the creative director of Skullmapping, has a background in animation film and visual arts. He originally gained international recognition by creating music videos, art installations and short films. Nearly 20 years ago he started his first experiments in projection mapping. This resulted in poetic art installations in which he projects video and animation on sculptures, such as ‘Peepshow’ and ‘My Orca’.

Antoon has been working as a figurative art painter for the last 30 years, and used to have his own gallery in the artists hometown Leuven. His paintings, which are featured in ‘Gallery Invasion’, the so-called ‘Lonely Subjects’, can be recognized by their 3D illusion and funny witticism.

The two artists met each other at the Anatomical Theatre in Leuven (hence the name ‘Skullmapping’) where they created their first project. What originally started as a spontaneous collaboration, grew into a much sought after projection art studio. Light art collective Skullmapping was founded in Belgium in 2009. After working together for over a decade, Filip Sterckx and Antoon Verbeeck are presenting a selection of their artworks, large and small, in one exhibition.

Skullmapping – Gallery Invasion

Monkey escapes from painting to surf web!
It’s a Gallery Invasion by Skullmapping.

Yes, it is possible that paintings in an art gallery come to life. Did you see the video that is going viral on social media? More than 20 million views already!

It all started at the beginning of this year during the ISE 2016 when Filip Sterckx and Antoon Verbeek from Skullmapping approached Dynamic Projection Institute and told us they were fond of our Mirror Head system. We were all on board for a new adventure to try-out something that had never been done before.

The next steps for Skullmapping were to become familiar with the new possibilities offered by our tools, decide on an innovative concept and create animations. The original idea was to create an animation where a miniature burglar breaks into a jewellery shop, but as Antoon has his own Art gallery they knew there would be a lot of trials or errors involved, so the gallery was an ideal environment for them to test and start playing with our products.

Antoon has made quite a few paintings with monkeys, so they decided early on that this would be a great protagonist because the monkey could jump from painting to painting and move around in the gallery. They then started with a previsualization, a very rough animation and then used a normal mirror to project on, which they moved around by hand to get an idea of the possible output. At this point, Skullmapping did not yet have the Mirror Head.

During an interview with Dynamic Projection Institute, Filip Sterckx explains: “I measured the gallery from top to bottom, and recreated the space in a 3D software, so that I had a digital copy of the gallery, inclusive the different paintings.” This process allowed him to visualize the project early on, but one of the challenges was to keep two characters in the same frame, as only one projector and one Mirror Head were to be used.

“At the same time, I didn’t want to give the idea to the viewer that both characters are ‘glued’ together, rather, I wanted to give the sensation that they could move around freely, independent of each other. I always had to watch out that they did not go too far out of each other, since otherwise they would go out of the frame,” says Filip.

Furthermore, to record the motion capture of the monkey’s movement they got in touch with a parkour free-runner and then transferred the movement recordings to a 3D model of the monkey. Once they had the Mirror Head in hand, they did the first test runs and from there on it was just a matter of further polishing the project.

Skullmapping also used the MDC-X Media Server engineered by Dynamic Projection Institute to create this fascinating concept. Filip also mentioned, “I wouldn’t know any other software or server that can do all the things we needed for this project: mapping and controlling the Mirror Head at the same time. It was an obvious choice to work with a system that was made by the same people who created the Mirror Head.”

Technically this was a big challenge as Skullmapping had never worked with the Mirror Head before and this project also pushed the boundaries of the possible applications of our tools. For technical support during the development of this project, they were in close contact with the Head of Software Engineering from Dynamic Projection Institute, Martin Willner, who says: “Skullmapping did everything right; a good story and perfect knowledge of the technology they are using! It is so astonishing that they never had a Mirror Head and MDC-X in their hands before and then came up with such a mind blowing performance – awesome.”

Talking about the future and bringing a conclusion to this article using words by Skullmapping: “The Mirror Head is a lot of fun to plan around with and creatively, there still are a lot of possibilities that have not been touched, I definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in mapping or augmented reality. All of us have become used to seeing mapping projects on all types of objects, but to see characters moving freely over multiple walls, ceiling and even floors with just one projector and a discreet setup is magical!”

Copyright © 2016 by Skullmapping –

Directed and animated by Filip Sterckx
Concept by Filip Sterckx + Antoon Verbeeck
Paintings by Antoon Verbeeck
3D modeling by Birgit Sterckx
Sounddesign by Roundhouse
Mocap actor: Nicolas Vanhole
Projector: Panasonic VZ570
Mirror Head: MH12-VZ57L
Media Server: MDC-X1

Mirror Head at historical locations.

The architect Hans Hoffer implements Mirror Head Systems in various old Viennese buildings and impressively stages the Dynamic Projection. The exhibition "Idee Europa - 200 Jahre Wiener Kongress" takes place from the 9th June to the 31st October 2015 at the Hofburg, Wiener Hofburgkapelle and the Federal Chancellery in Vienna. In action four Mirror Head Systems with Vivitek Projectors D968U and the Media console MDC-X1 Infos zur Ausstellung:

Mirror Head puts Giacometti in the limelight

Dynamic Projection Institute and the Leopold Museum Vienna worked close together within the framework of the "Giacometti, Pionier der Moderne" exhibition. The Mirror Head and the Media Console – MDC have been installed in the Leopold Museum Vienna and have been operating until the 26th January 2015.

Location: Leopold Museum Vienna, Museumsplatz 1, A -1070 Vienna

Application in a Museum

This installation was done for the Lange Nacht der Museen Event in the Vienna Leopold Museum to promote the Giacometti exhibition,, which is open till January 26th. This video demonstrates the "black when move function". Whenever the mirror is turning, the video is set to black. In use are two Mirror Head, each 4000 ANSI Lumens HD projectors and one MDC-X1-V2, Media on demand control – our media server.

Location: Leopold Museum Vienna, Museumsplatz 1, A -1070 Vienna

Applications of a fashion boutique

This Video shows the application of the Mirror Head in the showroom of a fashion boutique. Videos as well as Information portraying the products are transported to the clients through dynamic projections.

Location: Boutique Chegini, Kohlmarkt 7, A-1010 Wien

Application in a Shoe Shop

This Video shows the application of the Mirror Head in a Night Display. Passersby are surprised by pavement projections, which call their attention on the products exposed in the shop.
Location: United Nude Vienna, Neubaugasse 12, 1070 Wien

Application at an Interior Designer’s

This Video indicates how the Mirror Head is integrated in a Showroom. Textiles are projected in any dimension and can be adjusted or interchanged continually, surprising the passersby and clients.
Location: Firma Kohlmaier GmbH, Neubaugasse 32, 1070 Wien

Application in the Product Presentation

Objects are shaped with a new surface design and product variations can be demonstrated with virtual light. The interface can also conserve its mere hands-on nature. For this set up two Mirror Heads are employed.