Take a mind-bending plane ride that never leaves the ground

[This looks like a very immersive, presence-evoking installation; the post from The Creators Project blog includes a larger gif, many more images, and the video. –Matthew]

Porta Estel-lar plane - inside view

[Image: GIF via, images courtesy the artist]

Take a Mind-Bending Plane Ride That Never Leaves the Ground

By Beckett Mufson — Nov 5 2015

File into the airplane. Find your seat. Buckle up. Instead of engines revving and cabin pressure falling, an array of LEDs sets the metal tube ablaze with light. Welcome to PlayMid’s (Playmodes + MID) new installation, Porta Estel·lar: the only destination is the psychedelic corners of your mind.

“Through the creation of visual and sound sequences that suggest the idea of interstellar travel, we make the audience fly to outer space in an intense six-minute trip, from departure and takeoff to the sighting of comets, planets, galaxies, crossing nebulae and visiting alien worlds, until finally returning safe to earth,” reads the project’s description. Essentially it’s an immersive experience on par with the boat scene from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the black hole sequence in Interstellar, and 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s Star Gate, except you get to experience it in real life.

The plane itself was repurposed for Porta Estel·lar by Eduardo Cajal, who has been hosting concerts, projection mapping shows, and other art experiences in the vehicle since 2005. The plane was scanned and 3D modeled by Gerard Vallverdú, Eloi Maduell created the simulation software and edited the video, Santi Vilanova created the soundscape, the latter two who also designed the illuminated visuals.

“We received a proposal from the Culture Institute of Barcelona,” Vilanova tells The Creators Project. “This plane was going to be installed in the Ciutadella Park during the Barcelona local holidays of La Mercé, as one of the multiple street arts proposals that can be found during that days around the city… The idea was not to add any other geometry to the plane structure, and just making a light skin for what already was there, leaving the space empty so that people could be inside it.”

He outlines the structure of the show thusly:

1. Departure and Takeoff

On this scene we make a heavy use of sub-sound to make the plane vibrate, creating the illussion of big motors being powered on. We use circular light patterns, to represent movement of cilindrical turbines.

2. Space

On this scene we represent stars, constellations, and comets passing by. Sonically, we represent ingravity by using smooth pads and spatial effects of the comets passing by.

3. Wormhole

We enter a wormhole and starts a psychedelic and powerful journey inside a tunnel. In this part we make a heavy use of the perspective and movement effects, in a tightly synchronized and spatialized audiovisual piece.

4. Alien Worlds

When we get out of the wormhole, we find ourselves in an extraterrestrial world, surrounded by inteligent entities which communicate with us through a synesthetic audiovisual language. This is the more “musical” scene, integrating rhythm and melody as part of the “intelligence” from our alien friends.

5. Flash Backward

After visiting the alien world, we’re violently pushed back by the wormhole in a very fast journey backwards in time, finisihing our journey again in the earth, where everything started.

To summarize, the whole piece is about space-time journeys, represented through abstract geometry, color and sound.

Check out the [4:19 minute] video for Porta Estel·lar [on YouTube].

See more of PlayMid’s work on their websites here and here, and check out more projects with the plane on Eduardo Cajal’s blog.

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