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Lumen Prize Entry 2017

I am awaiting the announcement of the long list on July 12th. This year there were 800 entries and mine included early documentation of my MA Show exhibit. So perhaps a long chance for me once again (having also entered my MA Display exhibit at the same stage of documentation last year with no success).

I cannot show the entry as published on the Lumen Prize website as they will not be shown there until after the long list is published, so here are a few pics and the word file I used to prepare my entries to three categories: VR/AR Award, 3D/Sculpture Award, and Moving Image Award. I was not allowed to enter the Student Award as it is for moving image only and my exhibit contained other elements as well as moving image. Not fair, I think.

Lumen Prize Entry 2017

This art installation is based on a true story, first told in a BBC radio programme in 2015 by Emma-Jane Kirby, and made into her book titled ‘The Optician of Lampedusa’. The book was nominated for Waterstone’s book of the year 2016. Emma-Jane Kirby gave me permission to make this work as an educational project for my final MA Show at UAL (University of the Arts) Camberwell which will be exhibited there July 13 – 21 2017. It is a story about the refugee crisis, from the point of view of the refugees making the perilous journey by boat from Africa to Europe, and not as we usually see it from our perspective of Europe’s self-interest. Here the refugees’ journey is via Tunisia to Lampedusa, an Italian island closer to Tunisia than the Italian mainland. This artwork narrates the story of the opticians’ wife who helped rescue forty souls from the sea, but had to leave four hundred more behind to drown. Their boat was built for ten people.

The art installation consists of two life-size 3D scanned and 3D printed busts, one of the rescuer and another of the refugee. The actors narrate their story in a heart-rendering way using binaural recording and green screen video where the substituted background is the sea with the sound of seagulls. 3D Holograms of the refugees can be seen throughout the exhibition space through the Microsoft Hololens.

3D scans of the actors using Factum Foundation’s Veronica Scanner (exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art) and an Occipital Structure Sensor attached to a mini iPad. The first was processed by Factum Arte, and the second in a cloud app ItSeez3D. The 3D prints were made from the scans in several parts using the Selective Laser 3D Printer at UAL Central Saint Martins, and assembled by me at home. The binaural sound recording and video was made at Camberwell Studios using a Canon 80D digital camera, a ZoomH1 digital recorder, and a binaural head. The 3D scans were converted and input to the HoloLens via OneDrive using Microsoft software.

Here is a list of the pictures I sent:

Holograms of the 3D sculpture of the refugee, as shown in my studio, but will be similarly projected into all Lumen exhibition spaces.

The actors in the art installation, seen both as life-sized 3D prints and as narrators in the HoloLens video

A video still of ‘The Refugees’ Crisis’ which will be projected in the exhibition space, with the sculptures on plinths either side.

The video with actors optionally seen against a transparent background in the HoloLens

Assembly of a life-sized sculpture 3D printed in ten pieces

Making of a 3D sculpture starting with a 3D scan using the Factum Arte Veronica Scanner

Plus this video

Last Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney 12 June 2017

During my last tutorial with Jonathan I showed him my intended life size holograms of the refugees the sea. We argued about whether this was more appropriate to the message I was trying to express. He introduced me to the work of Jaume Plensa, huge figures towering over the environment in which they were placed. I learned from this debate that expression in art is not necessarily literal, and is usually best if the viewer is able to make their own interpretation. Messages are best hidden, to be explored and discovered. They do not need to be obvious. It should have been evident to me but it was not in my proposed work. I was too literal. So I changed it following Jaume Plensa’s example but in Mixed Reality.

Jaume Plensa2017-07-05 at 11.54.56


Botafogo Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Guide to my MA Show exhibit

I decided to use bookmarks to provide visitors with further information about my art installation. These will be on a table in the exhibit space along with my business cards.

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These will be inserted into copies of the book ‘The Optician of Lampedusa’ signed by the author Emma Jane Kirby.

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They will also be available separately if visitors do not wish to make a charity donation to Oxfam’s refugee crisis fund. The bookmarks contain a QR code which, when scanned by a visitor, directly links to my previous blog ‘The Refugees’ Crisis’.


The Refugees’ Crisis

An art installation by Terence Quinn MA Fine Art Digital (Dist) 2017

Most recently included as part of my current research presented at a conference organised by the Computer Arts Society at the British Computer Society, London on 9 July 2019:

Making the Absent Object Present: Towards a holographic Museum of Modern Art (hMoMA).

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 11.58.44Electronic Visualisation of the Arts London 2019

Link to presentation : EVA London 2019 V7

Link to paper:

Gold winner in Experience category Creative Conscience Awards July 2019

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Previously shown and presented at:

UAL Digital Edge Exhibition and Conference at Somerset House, London on 24 June 2019.

The Oxford Italian Association event in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières on 26 February 2018 at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University.

BBC Radio 4 iPM Documentary, 14 July 2017

University of the Arts Camberwell MA Show, July 2017.


The artwork took its inspiration from the book ‘The Optician of Lampedusa’ by Emma Jane Kirby, published by Penguin.


The Refugees’ Crisis was first exhibited at UAL Camberwell College of Arts MA Show in July 2017. This was the subject of a BBC Radio 4 iPM documentary featuring Terence Quinn and Emma Jane Kirby.


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‘The Refugees’ Crisis’ is inspired by a true story of refugees escaping harrowing lives in their homeland, and eventually striving to reach mainland Europe by sea. Emma Jane Kirby, BBC European Correspondent was one of the first reporters to arrive on the scene in late 2015.

On a boating weekend off Lampedusa, the Italian island’s optician, his wife Teresa and three other couples came across hundreds in the water. This art installation narrates the experience of a refugee rescued from the clutches of the sea after a perilous crossing from Tunisia, and Teresa who was hospitalised by the emotional torment haunting her afterwards.  

The artwork is in three layers and begins with two life-size 3D scanned and printed plaster sculptures (of actors taking the parts of the refugee and Teresa), set on transparent plinths surrounded by projections of the sea.

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The viewer is then invited to wear headphones and stand between the physical sculptures, thus immersing them in the situation surrounded by the sea projected on the walls and the floor. At the same time the viewer hears the binaural recorded narrative between the refugee and Teresa, as though they are talking to them directly. The narrative starts as the refugee (named Leo after the actor who plays him) and Teresa unexpectedly discover each other from across the sea, and rises in pace and tone as the situation unfolds.



The viewer is also able to wear special glasses (the Microsoft HoloLens) to experience huge holograms of the same plaster sculpture of the refugee placed all around the display. The viewer can still see the physical art installation and is able to walk around the plaster sculptures of Teresa and Leo and holograms of him, as though all are physically present in the same exhibition space. A short clip of this Mixed Reality (sometimes called Augmented Reality) experience at UAL Camberwell College of Arts can be seen below. This is followed by the complete film of the two narrators as seen by the viewer wearing these special glasses.





The intended effect of this experience is to immerse the viewer in the true life situation of Teresa and the refugees in the sea, in order to invoke a powerful empathic reaction. This is a very different experience to seeing the plight of refugees on TV or reading about it, which is also often portrayed as a problem to us in Europe. That is why this artwork is called ‘The Refugees’ Crisis’ as it is about them not us. The artist hopes that this will encourage all who experience it to influence others to pressure our governments (in the artist’s case, the UK government) to do more to help refugees in need, in particular unaccompanied and orphaned children. We cannot solve this tragic problem, but we can all do more to assist in this humanitarian crisis.





My MA Show – The HoloLens

I have just managed to project several holograms of Leo as the refugee into my very messy studio/office along with the binaural recording of the actors’ narrative (the same as in the video). It is best listened to with headphones.

Holograms of the refugee in an exhibition space

I have spent several days in the Advanced Digital Projects space at Central St Martins trying to do this in Unity (with a lot of help). But managed do produce this on my own this afternoon at home. So am very pleased with the outcome. The holograms can be positioned anywhere in the exhibition space and seen through the HoloLens.

MA Show preparation 11 May 2017

I have now finished making the life-size 3D sculptures of Theresa, the wife of the Optician of Lampedusa, and Leo the refugee rescued from the sea.

I have also managed to download the BBC recording of the  news broadcast by Emma-Jane Kirby, the author of the Optician of Lampedusa, convert it to MP3 format, and load it into my Fiil Diva Pro headset. This headset has its own inbuilt MP3 player and does not need to be connected to a computer or mobile device either wired or wirelessly in order to play the track. The track continuously loops, and if the headset’s battery is charged overnight the track will play all day. It’s a tricky set up, as at the start of each day the headset needs to be connected to an App on my iPhone in order to initiate play. It can then operate independently. Another feature is that whenever the headset is taken off play will automatically stop (and save battery). However, when the headset is put on again the track starts from where it left off. This feature is obviously designed for a single user. I would prefer it if it started playing the track from the beginning as most likely it will be for a different user. I have contacted Fiil in China to see whether these issues can be overcome. If not I will have to live with them. Currently it works well with these limitations.

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I am now ready to film my narrative video of the two actors who posed for the sculptures. Suzy, my wife is playing Theresa, and will speak with an English accent, and Leo is playing the refugee, who will speak in English with an African accent (his family are from Jamaica). I am indebted to film maker, actor and scriptwriter Michael Mueller for the following script. The plan is that it will be five minutes long or at least no longer than seven minutes. I am sure a listener will not stay with it for longer.

Terry’s Art Project 1

Sadly I could not get any time in either the Green Screen Studio at UAL Wimbledon or CSM, so I have had to hire one for the day for the final shoot.

We are rehearsing at the green screen studio that Alasdair and I set up at the bottom of his garden. I have had to abandon the idea of recording with my recently acquired 3D 360 degree Vuze camera, as it is currently not possible to show Stereoscopic video in any Augmented Reality device such as the HoloLens. I will now shoot using two camera set ups, one with a binaural head audio recording to my Canon 80D DSLR, and the other with sound using a camera mounted mixer, two Lavalier clip on microphones, with recording to Alasdair’s Canon 60D DSLR. We may need another stand alone microphone but will determine that during rehearsal.


Binaural Head with camera mount

As I cannot play my video in 3D in the HoloLens, only in 2D, I have decided to enhance the listening experience to something equally immersive, using a binaural head. Here is an example of binaural recording called the Virtual Haircut. It is essential that you listen to this using headphones.

If you want to understand more about binaural and other sound recording methods for VR, here are some good places to start.

I will produce two binaural recordings one with and one without video. The sound only recording will be for the main show exhibit, and will be heard in a second Fiil headset, set up as previously described.

MA Show main exhibit

The video recording will be seen during timetabled performances with the Microsoft HoloLens Mixed Reality headset, similar to that illustrated below except that the bacjkground will be the real live setting of my MA show main exhibit, and both HoloLens video screens will be of the actors against a transparent background. I am planning to add several holograms of the head of a refugee, placed on the floor around the exhibition space, representing the plight of the refugees in the sea. I am meeting with Sion Fletcher, at CSM 4D next week to determine whether this is technically possible.

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I have checked out possible exhibition spaces in Wilson Road, and the projectors in use there during the current BA show.

Ground Floor Wilson Road

Ground Floor Room at Wilson Road

There are possibilities for hanging an acrylic screen in both places, using the existing structure and possibly the length of wood resting on the top of two adjoining walls in our B18 Studio. My issue now is that I have a rear screen projector film for my A0 size acrylic sheet, so have to work out where I can work with that, or whether to stick with a straightforward projection on to a wall using our studio short throw projector. The existing projectors in the room and my own are not short throw and need the projector lens to be 2.25m to 2.6m from my intended rear projected acrylic screen. My ideal is to place the sculptures either side of the acrylic screen to represent the void/distance between the rescuers and the refugees in the sea. I will have to assemble the screen with its film and try it out to see if this works and what setting works best. Theresa would be on a white plinth representing the boat, and the refugee would be lower on a clear acrylic plinth representing the sea. The sculptures will face each other.

And finally…. I have contributed to the Zine being prepared as advertising for our MA show by Leonie. Here is my effort.

Terence Quinn for MA Show Zine

This will be accompanied by the following picures: The first one is from an exhibition at the Museum of Futures, London showing Suzy looking at a hologram of Theresa’s head.

It’s now time for a break. And lunch!