This workshop was about collecting research and recording a place quickly through a number of different mediums such as drawing, writing, listening and photographing things and people. Fast paced and quite intense. With this collected research the objective was then to combine all the information and display it somehow visually. My group decided to go to Spitalfields market and on our way there kind of divided tasks between us (with some overlapping) which meant that when we got there we just kind of split up, wandered around and sometimes connected again to see what we had done.
The first thing I started to consider when thinking about ideas for the show was how the space looks. As we already know where the exhibition will take place and the conditions we will have to work with, honestly all I could see were problems. How are we going to cover up that door, how are people going to understand how to navigate in a place where I myself have lost my way several times, can we use the ugly lockers in the narrow corridor to our advantage somehow or will they just have to stay an ugly element in the show, how can we make the dark and stuffy 2nd floor feel lighter and bigger etc.. Our exhibition space kind of bummed me down a bit but realising that it is what it is and that there is one big advantage with it (no more carrying heavy furniture to another place) I began researching ways to make the space work.
What it needs is:
- bold designs
To start off this group project of coming up with a design for the summer show 2018 and pitching the idea to a panel, I have been looking at some exhibitions to see how they display work/ present it/ write about it/ label it/ guide you round the space/ design the exhibition guide etc. I have so far been to three different ones: Barbican, Saatchi gallery and The Whitechapel gallery and what I have come to think of as most important and what I look for as soon as I walk in is signs. Wayfinding. Especially noticeable (or not noticeable actually) was the wayfinding in the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican. Consisting of a small map with one arrow, a lady that tells you to go upstairs first and a tiny tiny sign on a shadowed part of a wall reading “exhibition starts”, you’re supposed to go about your way hoping you’re making the right turns. Well, wrong turns were made, the lady directing people up the stairs had to chase after some who started wandering about on the ground floor first and people kept bumping into each other trying to find the most logical route to go.
In terms of the sound for my pastiche I realised quite quick that I couldn’t have just any soundtrack and that actually the less sound I would have, the better, as I think just as it was important to have a lot of white space in the video- it is important to let the silence speak as well. Calder is work is very monumental and has its own presence that translates best into silence. Awe.
However, the sounds I did put in are:
- Some “dings” that sounds like glass or a metal bowl because it has that resonance that “travels”. It’s a sound that continue to flow around a room which is perfect as Calder is all about room and space and how you can create something (in this case a sound) that then gets life of its own. It also ties back to Calder’s own experiments with sound and how he sometimes hung his mobiles purposely close together so that when the wind decided it was time for them to move and eventually touch, the metal would create a “ding” kind of sound. All very random and precisely what I wanted to reflect in my video as well.
- In the middle of the video when the shapes are balancing around I have put footsteps and some birds chirping. This is to represent Calder’s studio in the south of France, how he worked a lot outside and how his work requires you to move around. It’s a background sound and something we might not think about but here the background is what is important, the environment. It also brings nature into it which makes everything more human and maybe less serious which is good. The shape almost becomes human, like it was the shape walking around instead.
- Windchimes are what is playing last when the mobiles dance around, combined with some wind blowing. I wanted to accentuate wind, air and space at this part, making you understand that the mobiles move because the wind tells them to. It almost sounds a bit eerie but I think that is a good thing as it highlights Calder’s thoughts on space and how in his workshop, he looked up at his many mobiles hanging in the ceiling and thought of them as making up this own space. Creating their own universe.
“Just as one can compose colours or forms, so one can compose motions.”
The above quote is what I have been basing my pastiche on. It’s by Calder and captures his way of creating so well and summarises his work weather it be static or moving- he composes motions.
After getting feedback on the route to take with my leather project, I have decided to follow the path of bathtubs as it feels like the most relatable one and can be quite interesting visually because of the absurdity of it. The ideas I have for them so far are a bit scattered:
- Displaying taking one bath a day for 40 years through 14 600 bathtubs (365 days x 40 years). These can be shown on screens running alongside a wall.
- Or on the floor running down a street.
- Or displayed on a sky screen you look up at.
- Or one might divide the number of bathtubs with the number of tube stations in London (270) which equals 54 bathtubs that you place at each station. The information to go with it could be something along the lines of: These bathtubs are 54 out of 14 600 placed at 270 stations in London representing the amount of water it takes to produce a pair of leather shoes.
- Or making it into an art installation similar to the one in the gallery below with clouds on screens. By placing big screens like this in an open place filling them with images of 14 600 bathtubs and having maybe one screen explaining the leather connection.
The opposite of what I had planned, my mapping of conversations has had to be done a bit backwards. Instead of first finding conversations and then exploring the area around it in search of a good photograph – I have had to do all the photographing at once. I wanted my images to be kind of high contrast between shadow and light which means I have had to time my work to London’s weather. I need sunlight. The lack of time I’ve had to focus on this has also forced me to change my approach. Maybe for the better!
The other day I went on a photo safari through parts of London I like – a walk I will have to do again but listening at different places instead of only seeing.
Contact sheets, photos by Lisa
Getting some feedback on my ideas for the “map of me”, I have looked in to more designers and art/design with type in space. Adding to my list of inspiration- I now place Alexander Calder and his beautiful work with mobiles and installations, and Jessica Walsh’s bold colour work and type. Jessica Walsh also uses a colour palette through out her portfolio that is similar to what I want to use for my project.
Another name I will add to my list of inspiration is Jenny Holzer. She does light projections on to buildings, giving them a whole other sense of life and it’s really beautiful.