Pop-Up Books for the Magician Marco Tempest

In November 2011, I received an order from the New Yorker illusionist Marco Tempest. I should develop some pop-up sculptures for a stage show. Since I already knew a sensational video of this extraordinary magician, I was very happy, to be working on a project for this world-famous artist. For the presentation of the life story of the inventor Nikola Tesla, he needed several white pop-ups, which would later serve as background for accurate projections. In the so-called „projection mapping“ movies are not projected onto a white canvas, but on three-dimensional objects – in this case on my paper sculptures.

I worked for about five weeks to finish the paper objects. The premiere of the show should take place at the TED conference in February 2012, so I had to keep to a tight schedule. The first book was finished in early December. On 22 December I have sent the second book to New York. I was very happy when Marco announced by email, that the package has arrived safely at him.

Here’s the video of the final presentation, as it was shown in February at the TED conference:

In addition, Marco Tempest has released an own video of his presentation.

Here is a behind-the scenes video of the stage show:

Created and Produced by Marco Tempest
Script: David Britland
Art Direction: Kevin Blanc
Motion Design: Alain Renold
Pop-up Design: Peter Dahmen
Music and sound design: Michael Ricar
Custom software development: Enrico Viola
Arduino Tech Wizard: Manuel Rueda Iragorri
Pre-visualization and production mascot: Signe Fleischmann


  • Great performance and pop-ups!

    How many time you talk about the project?
    It seam something very precise, and maybe he adapted his projector lights and videos to it? Right?

  • Dear Lorenzo, many thanks for your comment! Marco Tempest contacted me in November 2011. At that time, the script / the screenplay was already finished. So I knew the scenes that he would need for the presentation. From that moment on, we had a Skype call every week. I sent the books from my office (in Germany) to his office (in New York) at Christmas time. So, in total, I worked about 8 weeks on that project.
    You will find more information in the video – The making of ” Nicola Tesla in Sound and Light” – by Marco Tempest. It is right HERE on this page. If you can’t finde it, please click here: https://vimeo.com/43684443
    I hope, that this answers your questions.
    With all best, Peter

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