The project “Isla de Coco” is an interactive model of the famous but remote Costa Rican island which stands for the master piece of the Coco island temporal exhibition in the national Costa Rican Museo (26/11/17 - 31/08/18).
Its objective is to immerse people in the nature and beauty of this wild and unknown piece of land in the middle of the sea, 594 km from the Costa Rica coast.
To achieve this, the first part of the project is a model made in laser cutting with the superposition of tens layers and the assembly of 6 units to reach a model of 5,64 meters of length, 3,38 meters of width and 0,35 meters of height.
The video mapping is the second component to give it life. In 2 minutes, people can see a typical day in the island, from the sunrise to the sunset, populated with sea animals that are escaping when you are interacting with them.
Technologies usedCNC milling Laser cutting Computing & softwares
- What’s the project story?
Since 1982, the CIMAR (Center of Investigation in Sea and Limnology Science) of the Costa Rican public University has performed many investigations in the Island to better understand and protect its amazing wildlife. Because of its distance from the coast, it’s very difficult and costly to visit it. If people cannot see its beauty, the island will come to them. We wanted to raise awareness among the population among this Costa Rican territory they couldn’t enjoy and about environment protection. We were also looking for fundings to pursue our scientific investigations there. When we share this simple idea with experts, wildlife photographers, museums and university, people get thrilled about it and the success became bigger every time we gave the idea a more tangible shape. Everuthing was possible thanks to the combination of circumstances. Jorge Cortés, in charge of coral reefs projects in CIMAR, presented the project to the national museum director who put him in contact with Eduardo Faith, a museographic designer. This one were working with his nephew who took courses in Fablab Veritas. The team there advised them to work with Miguel Imbach, in audiovisual production, when they got the idea of video mapping. The 4 of us were passionated by the project. We believed so strongly in the idea and in our complementary skills that we started the project before getting the fundings. We recruited volunteers, such as students doing public services tasks, who were so involved that we managed to set all the exhibition in the museum in only one week.
- How the workshop was useful ?
We chose the Fablab Veritas because of the machines park and the large space of the lab. But we worked with them until the end of the project because of our good relationship and their involvement along the project. They helped us to model and design the island in different parts due to its dimension and with many different level lines for each layers. They used laser cutter for the prototype and then CNC router for the final version. They were also in charge of the assembly part.
- What’s the project’s greatest success so far?
The success of the project exceeded our expectations. It was the first temporal exhibition which lasted 9 months in the museum. They have so many visitors that we got an incredible media coverage in all the country. The Minister of Education stated that it was a project of educational interest. As a consequence, students from all over the country made the trip from even remote indigenous areas to enjoy it.
- What’s your greatest failure(s)& lesson(s) so far?
Unexpectedly, it took lot of time and energy to find the fundings despite the excitement and institution promises made after lot of project pitches. We had to invest ourselves during the first months to make the project become true. We learnt that we should not be afraid to invest if we believe in a project provided that we test the interest before and manage to build a great team. If we have to do it again, we will also not underestimate the time to set all the exhibition. You always have to find solutions for unexpected issues so it’s better to find them without being under pressure. Last but not least, don’t underestimate the maintenance and time required to fix issues during the exhibition time. We had a lot of troubles with the projectors that required to be reactive and to anticipate it in the audiovisual production contract.
- What’s your vision for the project & next steps?
The model will be given by the University to the Punta Arenas aquarium. The explanatory panels and photos will be moved in different places (universities and museums) of the country during the next year.
- How can anyone interested can contribute to the project?
Come to Costa Rica to see the model in the Punta arenas aquarium, buy the exposition book and eventually help us to spread the word about this magic island to preserve it and to find fundings for our future investigations.