Where It All Began

It’s fair to say that projection mapping has made it’s mark in the digital art scene over the past few years. Look it up and you’ll find tonnes of examples of new displays from all around the world; independent artists, amateurs, musicians, musical festivals, advertisers, big brands at all. But where did it all start?

Put simply, projection mapping is the art of projecting onto a three dimensional surface, and it’s been around longer than you’d expect.

Although only recently exploding onto the scene, what we know to be the first example of projection mapping was seen at Disneyland California in 1969 at the beginning of the iconic Haunted Mansion ride. 16mm footage was projected onto the five sculptures known as the “Grim Grinning Ghosts”


Following an immersive art installation in 1980, Disney patenting “Apparatus and method for projection upon a three-dimensional object and GE following suit in 1994, in 1998 projection began picking up steam. Once it was explored in academia, the term ‘Spatial Augmented Reality’ was born from UNC Chapel Hill academics, with a paper called the “Office of the Future”. Basically, this office foresaw a world where anything could be projected upon, and from the picture below they weren’t far off some of the things we see in every second sci-fi film.

Pretty cool.



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