New digital art experience allows people to upload images of themselves on to giant head

A new digital art experience will open to viewers on Wednesday, in Temple Bar, allowing visitors to upload images of themselves on to a 4m-tall head for selfies.

Visitors are scanned in Ireland’s only volumetric scanning theatre, with their moving image displayed on a four metre tall LED giant head.

The Giant Experience, headed by entrepreneur Paddy Dunning, “presents visitors with a new genre of spectacular immersive digital art”, according to organisers.

A holographic full body avatar is also instantly generated of each visitor who uses the scanner, transporting them “into the multiverse where the subject can inhabit and move within a diversity of virtual worlds”.

The Giant Company promise that the project will provide the building of the biggest moving statue in the world, “that can talk, sing, recite poetry and through new technology … can allow the giant to transform into anybody at any time,” Mr Dunning told The Irish Times.

The company have created a prototype but are still raising funds and are looking for more sponsors to come on-board. Current sponsors include Enterprise Ireland, Thorntons Recycling, and Liffey Crane Hire, among others.

“The Giant will promote kindness, love, equality, along with sustainability, but I think we want the giant to be a matriarch, not a patriarch statue,” Mr Dunning said.

“Of course, you could celebrate the great men, but we really want women to lead the charge on this, and I’ve had so many people from all around the world support that idea,” he added.

“Wait till we see what a woman will say to be the first person in the world that gets her 3D volumetric scan image scanned and can be transported not just as a static image, but as a talking image on to a 3D structure.”

However, the full 50m structure is still some time away, with the group hoping to confirm a site for the first Giant in a major city on the east coast of the United States by Christmas, with the opening another 18 months away after that.

According to Florence Stanley, who has worked with The Giant Company for around four years, as a property surveyor, to develop a 40m tall giant, without the cost of a site, would cost between €25-26 million.

“The possibilities are endless” with The Giant, Ms Stanley said, adding that she would like to see The Giant in Ireland “sooner rather than later”.

She likened it to a Ferris wheel, saying that when they were first invented, people were sceptical, however now they are everywhere and in all sizes.

“The Giant could be the same, but it’s much more advanced and then it can be rolled out at all sizes, so there is the big wheel, there’s smaller wheels, there’s travelling wheels. The same could happen with The Giant,” Ms Stanley said.

The idea began over 14 years ago, according to Mr Dunning, when he thought of building giant sculptures “of various different giants of music, art and sport all around the world.

“And then we went, ‘hmm, why don’t we build a statue that could turn into all these people rather than it being one person? Why can’t we build a statue that could turn into different people?’ ” Mr Dunning said.

However, the technology for this had to be developed, and thus the group created a “matrix LED skin linked to a scanning system”, which is the basis for The Giant today.

The Giant Experience will run in Dublin for four months, for people aged seven and over, and pre-booking is advised. For more information visit thegiantcompany.ie

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