I was mad to go into the studio today, with what is looking like freezing snow outside. I was determined to go in if the roads were clear. So they were and I did. My main focus of the day was to reinforce the fourth plinth, which is by far the largest of the set. I’m struggling to find space now in my studio space.
With the gum-tape in place I decided to see how it would look paired up with other model miniature. Looking at the two together I could see a massive difference in height. The larger piece dominates it without doubt, which really concerns me. I was considering how it would look with the viewfinder in place, how that would change the piece, giving more power to the larger one.
I had to see how it looked, and it just took all the attention away from the smaller one which just cowers away in comparison. I need to see how they work with projections, how will that change things. I’m starting to lean towards removing the viewfinder completely as much as it draws the audience in, the envelope like screen that it cut out to reveal the violence is something that could work on it’s own without the other piece.
I’ve spent longer than I expected to on this piece in the studio today. Just showing that even with all the material I have to hand. I began by sourcing the longest box (when flattened out) which measured to just over a meter. Thinking that I may have the tallest plinth on my hands here. As the day progressed I was searching for pieces that matched the original box. I couldn’t, settling for two varied sizes, which ultimately took the height down to just under a meter.
With the height fixed I began to get the pieces cut to size, slowly in place and fixed together. There are support strips of card on either side of the with some of the sheets that are forming the plinth. I have to make do and carry on the best I can with some pieces. Once in place I began to reinforce with the standard triangles on the 90 degree angles, it was the those of around 120 degrees that needed a different approach to ensure they did the same job.
As I’ve had with the other plinths, the model miniature slotted in with ease once more, allowing me to see it raised and supported. All I need to do now is add the gum tape for extra strength before pairing it up with the other piece. I’m glad that all four plinths have been constructed, bringing me a step closer to drawing this piece to an end. Moving forward I want to see how this pair looked when projecting together too. Before that happens I need to buy more kit that will streamline what I already have, making further tests and ultimately installations an easier process to set-up. Lastly I need to see how the projections work with both the viewfinder in place and without. I’m also concerned how it will look alongside the others which have so far not needed one. All these decisions still to make.
If I’m honest today was really stressful, nothing went as straight-forward as I thought it would be. With new kit came new issues which now have to be resolved moving forward for a public installation. I won’t go into detail about them but they took up a lot of my time in the studio.
Moving on I did finally get to see the first pair of pieces projecting opposite each other, I had to compromise in places and there’s still things to iron out. The main being the timing of the footage being projected. As I began to see them working together, the volume cranked up for effect there was a lot of overlap. I want to see how they work if I even out the gaps. I’m thinking about a new tests where the videos are timed to bounce off each other, allowing the audience to look at both pieces instead of being conflicted. For example the original Unforgiven (1992) leads with a bit of footage, a break of a few seconds, before a piece from the remakes played, this would allow them both to work together, no overlap before a long/short break at the end before they play together as they go into a continuous loop. I could carry out the edit next time I’m in the studio, also allowing me to source the kit I need to carry out a more streamlined test. The video documentation naturally wants to look at both at the same time as they are wanting your attention, so why not work with that.
I also looked at the lighting, which I am concerned about. I will have between 2-4 tripods in the installation, I need them to be secure and safe for an audience. Lighting is needed, if only to illuminate minimally. I don’t really want to cast as shadow of the tripods, just the plinths, I can’t help light coming from the media players, unless I work on a concealing method.
It’s all about seeing what’s working now as I move towards a more complete state, making the idea a reality is harder than it looks. I have however been able to see them working and that’s something I want to see again, without the stress of all the problems that arose today. They should iron out by next time.
My practice has me in an interesting position, a white guy under the age of 30 who lives in the UK and loves Westerns. I’ve come to a point where I need to take a step back from making work in response to the genre and actually look at where I sit. The genre is essentially an American import to our country which had an impact with people of a certain age, who watched them in the cinema at the time of release. I want to know how I relate to them, how the films have informed them, the characters and the role models that have helped inform their gender. It’s a project, I say project as I don’t know the finished form apart from being a video piece at this stage that I will probably come back to over a long period of time.
One of the first steps is to collect information from those who actually saw the films at the cinemas up and down the UK and see where the research leads me. I’ve written a short survey which I’d like to share with those who grew up and watched Westerns in the 1950’s and 60’s. If that’s yourself or someone you know, please share the survey with them?
I can’t wait to see the results.
It’s been a very successful day in the studio. I set aside a full day to look into any possibilities for the plinth I was going to make today. Not sure of what I was going to encounter. My worries were thankfully short-lived. As you can see from the image above, it’s not exactly a straight surface to build on. The tracking is reduced to ensure I’m on a flat enough surface. As per normal the pieces slotted in and began to come together, shaving small amounts off to take into account the other pieces. It wasn’t long though before I decided to see, just what I was working with after lunch. Turning the work the right way up, I was pleasantly surprised to find the plinth was taking all the weight and continued to for the whole day.
I carried on after lunch, applying the gum tape to further strengthen the plinth. My only guess that even with all the weight at the top, I think that the inclusion of the beams, the balcony wrapping around the interior must be working in my favor.
Now that I have three plinths constructed I had two see how the two responding to Unforgiven (1992 & 2013) work together. There’s definitely a height difference, which was determined by the boxes I used. I won’t be going any smaller for the last one. I really want to see them working in the dark to know whats going on. I can then start to look at timings of the work, how audio effects the opposite piece and just how far they need to be apart for them to project. Hopefully I can see that next time I’m in the studio, thanks to a delivery I received tonight, allowing me to play once more.
I’m now at the half-way mark of having all my plinths in place. I began t he day by working with the cardboard I had pre-cut to work on today. Bringing everything together with only a few pieces needed trimming as the pieces went in. I then moved onto strengthening the two pieces with gum tape which has ensure they last.
With the second one now in place I have been left with a challenge to tackle, the Japanese model miniature which is by far the heaviest. The plinth tracking its set up for a narrow piece, which I’m not sure will take the weight, I may have to make some adaptations to allow it to hold. First lets see how it looks and holds, if I need to I will work on support in the rear and work off observations.
Even though it feels like I’m spending less time in the studio – a change in my routine to fit the gym in I’m still finding my time there really rewarding. As I plan out a rough idea of what I want to achieve I’m able to go home satisfied knowing I’ve accomplished all I wanted to do that day. Making me feeling content in my making. I never thought I’d be taking the idea of making plinths possible. I took an idea and ran with it.
Laying the track down for cardboard to slot into and hold up the model miniatures. Beginning today I found two boxes that I had been storing in my space, they have never been folded into box form, they never served their function, making them fresh piece of cardboard – something I rarely do. In my work nothing serves its intended function, instead recycling them into something far mote exciting. I took the boxes – unfolded and pulled it apart to lay flat, able to measure out the pieces before cutting them to size.
With the first two pieces ready and a set of pre-cut strips I began to bring the piece to life, sitting in the slots so it would be made exactly to fit. I noticed as soon as they were complete that an internal strip was on show, I was thinking about undoing the work, before realising this was a happy accident. I had already showed the strips around the corner, it was a natural extension of the language, why hide that part of the illusion. I carried on to bring the piece to be a complete plinth ready to test out. It didn’t take long to see the result, holding up the model miniature, all I had to do was properly secure it to stand long term in a space.
I cut 8 triangles of similar size, 4 at both ends which instantly made a real difference to the structure. I now have a method which allowed me to make a start on another plinth, using a similar size box. I have also let the height be determined by the box, not altering it, partly to keep things loose and also to not affect the fit. If I were to trim any off the top I may make it uneven, leaving them smooth I’m allowing for a better fit. I’m really happy with the progress of just one plinth, I could even using this method with future works.
Another quick but essential day in the studio, adding what I have called Plinth tracking. On the sides where a plinth – made of cardboard of course, I have laid two tracks of cardboard with a gap to safely allow a two-ply thick plinth to be added to the bases. This can be easily slotted into place at any time and when in place, it should not move as it’s trapped between two lines of tracking, locking it without gluing it in place. It would allow me to more easily transport the work.
As I look back at the work which is now covered for it’s own protection, I can see just over a year of dedication has gone into making these four pieces. I’ve learned how to make furniture, expanded my gestures from external to internal pieces. The level of detail has definitely increased, making the process a lot longer. My making skills have also increased, whilst still keeping detail lose I have grown in confidence in what I make. I’m really proud of what I’ve made and really want to see them with projections simultaneously now. I know that’s only a matter of time and patience.
In the meantime I have seen some complete (folded) boxes in my studio space. I’m very tempted to expanded them and experiment to see what the possibilities are. I will obviously have to reinforced them with strips and triangle pieces for structural reasons before I even consider placing one of the pieces on top. I think I just like finding work for myself sometimes.
A few posts ago I shared the first of two test videos of the my The Great Silence projection tests. Tonight I can share the second half, which I feel as interesting as it maybe, it has little in terms of distortion, it’s too easy to see the image. Projecting onto the floor reveals too much, it’s too easy for the viewer to make out whats going on. I want them to stay and work it violence being projected. I’ll be going with the first test. Now its just a matter of bring every test together.
I was going to post 2 updates this weekend, however I was at the cinema catching Phantom Thread (2017). So I’ll bring you up to date now. I began the weekend by wanting to look at how the presentation of the final piece will look. With a lack of kit to do this properly I decided to return to a tried and test formula, maquettes, which allow me to look at this on a smaller scale, without the worry of space of setting everything up and hoping that it somehow make sense as I switch from one piece to another. The first day saw me make a start on the first 3 of the 4. Working at a smaller scale I’ve reduced the detail again so I know the piece by a few gestures made in the piece.
I came back today to complete the 3rd and 4th pieces that was still outstanding. I know there are about 1.20 scale so they are all about the same size still, allowing me to understand how they will relate to each other. I’m tempted to even make stand in projectors on tripods – or signifiers. Once they were all complete I added plinths that replicated the heights of the cardboard tables which I’ve been working with so far. I feel that these pieces need there own purpose built plinths, they would also need to work around whats already on the boxes.
I then made a start on a few set-ups to see what works. As much as I want the cross formation I don’t want to limit myself as whats possible. I saw a number that could work. Always having them in pairs I continued to rearrange them. It’s given me a few to consider. I can even take them on the road when the work is installed in a shows so I can see what works too. All I need now is the extra kit to see how the real thing works.
Lastly I have finally finished work on the new tables for Minnies Haberdashery, installing them into an already crowded pieces. I was able to manuveur my glue-gun around, just being mindful of the beams already in place. This brings the piece inline in terms of detail with the other models in the work. I can now just focus on the last hurdle.