Digital Projection and Artabesk for Sharjah Light Festival

Photo: Artabesk and Benjamin Perroux

Nearly 60 Digital Projection laser projectors, including 46 TITAN Laser 37000 WU and 13 M-Vision 23000 WU, were behind the displays at the recent Sharjah Light Festival in the Emirate of Sharjah, UAE.

The 12-day festival showcased the history, heritage and architecture of the eponymous emirate with a carnival of lights, colours and music. The largest festival of its kind in the region, invited internationally renowned artists to celebrate the city’s built and natural environment, using large-scale projection mapping to illuminate and reimagine landmarks such as the Sharjah Mosque and the spectacular Hajjar Mountains.

For the 2024 festival, Dubai-based video mapping specialist and immersion content creator Artabesk enlisted its extensive Digital Projection inventory to create the visual experiences which included a 300m × 50m projection on the side of a mountain.

During Sharjah Light Festival the Al Rafisah Dam was the venue for The Jewel of Al Rafisah Dam, a 3D projection mapping show inspired by the ‘Golden Age of Sharjah’, focusing on the ancient history of the city of Khorfakkan and the United Arab Emirates’ native flora and fauna.

Featuring content created by Artabesk, The Jewel of Al Rafisah Dam marked the first time visual content had been mapped onto a mountain of that size, a feat which involved several challenges, as Mounir Harbaoui, founder and managing director of Artabesk, explained: “We had two main challenges for this projection: the brightness, as the mountain is a brownish, stone colour, and the multiple shadows the mountain creates, as it is not a flat surface.”

To overcome these obstacles, Artabesk turned to the TITAN Laser 37000 WU, a 3-Chip DLP projector with a 37000 (WUXGA)/31000 (4K-UHD)-lumen output. “We decided to use our new TITAN Laser 37000, as it is capable of projecting up to 40m from each projector,” noted Harbaoui. “We also switched off the street lights so we could create a completely dark environment.”

The second challenge was resolved by concentrating all 16 TITAN Laser 37000 WU projectors on one point on the mountain, which resulted in a “super clear” image when viewed from the area where the audience were located, added Harbaoui.

Also among the four festival sites entrusted to Artabesk, which used a mix of TITAN Laser 37000 WU and M-Vision 23000 WU projectors, was the Sharjah Mosque, located on a 190,000m² (2m sqft) site in Sharjah city. Artabesk employed 21 TITAN Laser 37000 WU to create a 400m² linear projection, divided into eight areas across the entire surface of the mammoth mosque, whose minarets alone are almost 40m high. Sharjah Mosque Artabesk was limited to still images, given the sensitivities associated with projecting onto a religious site.

In addition to delivering on the technological front, Digital Projection supported Artabesk throughout the festival, told Harbaoui. “We always have support on site when it is necessary,” he explained, “Artabesk and Digital Projection’s Dubai-based team, led by Alex Gnatyuk, always collaborate to make sure the projectors are in the best condition for each installation.”