Standing at 11 metres high, Odyssey is a spectacular interactive display that has been co-created by international designer Jack Irving in collaboration with a highly-talented team of computer scientists from Lancaster University.
The outdoor installation comprises six large-scale towers that are combined with state-of-the-art technology to create an immersive projection show themed on undiscovered creatures lurking in the depths of the deep sea.
Odyssey, which has been manufactured at the Blackpool Illuminations Lightworks factory, has taken more than two years to design and build.
The design of the three towers is based on sea gods from Greek mythology: Poseidon, Aphrodite, and Amphitrite. Aphrodite, the tallest of the three towers, is an impressive 7 metres wide, and 11 metres high!
The installation provides an extraordinary interactive experience for visitors as they discover alien sea creatures swimming and swirling around their feet.
Through advanced technology, no two experiences are the same as the projector maps individual movements and reflects back a customised projection, creating a unique and dynamic encounter for each person. The Odyssey towers incorporate 60 powerful lasers and a dramatic sound and light show.
The creation of Odyssey has been assisted by the investment that Blackpool Council has received from the Towns Fund, which is aimed at rejuvenating the Illuminations and developing new concepts that will attract new generations of visitors.
Situated on the Tower Festival Headland, alongside this year’s Christmas By The Sea village, the free attraction will remain in place throughout the extended Illuminations season which ends on January 2, 2023.
Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council said:
"The introduction of Odyssey on to the Promenade has created yet another wow factor and we were thrilled to see it get a starring role in one of the fabulous dance routines in the Blackpool edition of Strictly.
"The installation is the result of a brilliant collaboration with our partners and adds a completely new dimension to the Golden Mile".
Jack Irving, Artist said:
"It's amazing to showcase Odyssey to Blackpool - We've spent over 2 and half years developing the project and created a totally immersive world. All inspired by my greatest inspiration which is deep sea life. I really want to take the viewers of Blackpool into the deep and immerse them in the alien world we've created. There are so many magical elements to the piece and it's a futuristic story of the deep sea creatures told through the power of light".
Joe Finney, Professor of Computer Science at Lancaster University said:
"It is wonderful to see the installation now in place and looking fantastic on Blackpool’s Promenade.
"We are thrilled to have worked with the Blackpool Illuminations team and Jack Irving in creating Odyssey. Lancaster University is committed to engaging actively with our partners as a force for societal good at regional, national and international levels. Through Odyssey, the most technologically advanced art installation ever deployed by Blackpool Illuminations, we aim to instil a new paradigm of interactivity into the illuminations, allowing visitors to not only see the lights, but to feel a part of it".
Background on Odyssey
Artist Jack Irving, who grew up in Blackpool and produced costumes for the Hot Ice show at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, has since gone on to specialise in extravagant, wearable art sculptures and create amazing costume designs for the likes of Lady Gaga.
Through his creative vision and innovative flair, the artist has been one of the driving forces behind the project, making key decisions on the appearance and design of the colossal towers.
The team of computer scientists at Lancaster University, one of the top universities in the UK, have provided the technological expertise required for this mammoth project, adding a new dimension that has never been seen before in the Blackpool Illuminations display.
The impressive installation would not have come to life without the highly skilled and experienced production team at Blackpool Illuminations, combined with monies from the Towns Fund to invest in cutting-edge technology.
Five futuristic facts about Odyssey
- There are over 10,000 lines of code for the interactive elements of Odyssey
- In excess of 2,500 hours have been spent on developing the code, simulation and testing
- Each tower contains a Panasonic 20k projector, a raspberry Pi and camera
- Over 32 tonnes of steel has been used for the skeleton of the towers
- 2,400 LED nodes and over 3,500 metres of LED lighting has been used in the display
Background on Christmas By The Sea
The Christmas By The Sea village on the Tower Festival Headland includes a free-to-use skating rink, festive light installations and projection shows, themed log cabins, artificial snowfalls, Christmas trees and Christmas tram rides.
The village, which will operate until Monday 2 January, also includes themed children’s attractions and the return of the Star Flyer which, at 260ft tall, is one of Europe’s tallest swing rides.The village, which is sponsored by TalkTalk, is being delivered in partnership with the Blackpool Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID), Blackpool Council and VisitBlackpool. It is just part of a resort-wide festive programme that also includes attractions, grottos, late night shopping and a special discounted parking offer giving three hours of parking for just £1 on most Blackpool Council car parks.