I can now share with you the footage I shot at the weekend. You can see how much I want and do explore the first test, there’s more going on and it shows in what I have to work with.
I could easily leave this model miniature in its present state, and not positioning it at an angle. I need to see if its possible to achieve first.
It’s be another busy day in the studio, starting with two tests which I feel have brought a nice close to that model miniature. Taking the frames I made yesterday and temporarily fixing them to the model miniature. Firstly the two tests which I did in reverse order, the larger then smaller frame. I knew that as soon as I fixed the larger one in place it created a presence in the space that draws in the audience to look and explore the work. Posting my progress today on Instagram, a term was suggested – video diorama that really does fit this work in it’s present form. I could apply this same method to the other piece I’ve finished, even returning to the smaller model – something I’ll have to decide later.
The smaller frame was really disappointing after such a reaction from the larger frame. It just did very little except to create some interest and neatens up that side of the work. There’s no draw to the work with frame. All I can say is that it allowed me to get to where I am now with the work. I am still thinking about the angled based to raise it around 30-45 degrees. I can use the central base support as a starting point.
Moving back up-to the studio I made a really good start to the latest model miniature which I was concerned about for a time, using 1ply cardboard instead of 2ply which I’m used it. Thanks to the 4 boxes that I grouped together last time it has really weighed it down, making it much stronger and heavier. I also used the cardboard strips to hold the walls together. I spent most of my time working on the stairs leading to the balcony, which I made flush with another piece of card before finishing for the day. I will add the trim around the top before completing the balcony all away around. I just need to consider that this will have a completely different design – being Japanese. I must admit I am very excited to attempt making a ceiling light which I would like to suspend somehow. A detail I will leave until later on.
I’ll be sharing video documentation later on in the week.
I’ve had a really successful day, all the build-up has not been for nothing. With my latest test video and model miniature ready to bring together. Setting up was pretty easy, now I know what is required and having the cut-away I was ready to get testing. I had to remember early on to slightly angle from above the video into the model than just directly in. This allows for a smoother entry into the model miniature. I knew the coverage wasn’t going to be full with this method, I had to position the projector into the far corner to make the best of it. Having a letter box aesthetic which I have only just realised. I could build a view finder to enhance this idea and test again.
The next test was far more satisfying, even if it looks like a few steps back in terms of progression. When the model miniature was place on it’s side, I had to re-position the projector and the tripod. It fitted naturally in between the beams, which I took full advantage of. This didn’t have the same feel of just being a mini outdoor cinema, projecting into a confined space at an angle is really interesting to look at. It’s an unexpected result from today’s tests. The potential to be explored by the viewer is increase. Not only do they have to encounter the footage, the imagery its the presentation that allows you to get in closer to it, to really move the body around to see what the model is. It forces you to interact. Now is this what I want? It does draw in the viewer which is always a plus. I’m also thinking about the presentation of the other models. I will have to adapt the projector to the model, not the other way around. Admittedly this one has been designed that way, but can be rectified once I decide how to present this piece.
As I reflect and wrap things up for the day I am considering testing a few more ideas out for this one next time, such as increasing the height/angle – the letterbox idea. If I go ahead the second of today’s tests that I would have to seal off the corner, which is a few more weeks work. To round off the day I have shared below a refined video of the days tests to view.
I can’t remember the last time I spent some real time with this work which I’ve been working loosely with since the summer. Today I’ve spent some good time in the studio playing with my lights and projector, directing them onto the white models I made in the summer. I’ve finally been able to do what I set out to all those months ago. It was rather satisfying to see these ideas take form, if they worked or didn’t was another thing, to actually follow through on a thought that had been there for a long time means I’m happier for it.
So it was all about colour to begin win, wanting to shine block colour, taking the phrase almost literally – painting the town red – with light. I found that the red was coming out more pink, turning to less obvious colours such as green and blue, before finishing with orange. Photographically the results aren’t the best. I found myself returning to earlier work, which is not where I want to be heading, I need to move away from the literal yet atmospheric.
Moving onto another idea I had was to project video onto these essentially blank canvases which meant getting the projector out and finding clips of Westerns I have, seeing what work. Not really choosing anything in particular I went for the rollerskating scene from Heaven’s Gate (1980) which pushed me to consider how to really use the projector and the model, which with every consecutive scene grew ans grew. With this scene it was more about how can I cove the whole or the majority of the model.
It was nice to see how the image consumed the model, becoming an outdoor cinema, projecting its image against a saloon. The image come up well on the model, it will ultimately vary depending on the model being projected onto. I moved onto a scene from The Searchers (1956) which was more of the same. I went to another scene from the film, this time bringing another model, meaning that the projector had to move back to accommodate them both.
What happened here was that the images took on a status of being bigger, yet still very much part of the same world. When I saw the landscape against the more urban models, this is something I wanted to explore, the background being part of these models in the foreground. Pushing it further with the final gunfight in True Grit (1969) which had wide open spaces to take advantage of.
This particular scene worked more so because of the action, the cinematic presentation of the scene, these gigantic god-like being behind the models. I also moved all four of the models in front of the projector, experimenting with layout, creating shadows, which ultimately don’t really matter as the image is still caught on the models in front, the light becomes sculptural. I carried the god-like status through to the next scene – the family massacre in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) which I was very pleased with, partly down to the close-ups.
For the last set-up I positioned the models into a more conventional street set-up, with a gunfight from A Few Dollars More (1965) which drew me to my final thoughts of the day, linking nicely to the original inspiration of the Marquis in Melton – Street violence, or that of gunfights in the genre. I’d like to see how more models and more gunfight scenes work with this set-up. I still want to see how the cowboy figures work in terms of shadows they produce.
So as you can see I have been very busy and had lots of fun, immersed in the Western. To me this piece is about the violence that is created/depicted in the genre, this is where I maybe leading this piece going forward.
I have to admit I’ve taken the eye off the ball when it come to Painting the Town… which is stuck in hiatus at the moment whilst the animation is into full post-production. However I have found some work part of New Mills Festival (2016), part of the Big Weekend Mark R. Binks has an inspirational piece in the Torr Mill which I had to check out to see how it was set-up, informing my work still very much in development.
Horizon is a light based piece that relies of the public to work, they are invited to make a paper pyramid, all from an A4 piece of paper that are held together by a single paperclip. The placed among a growing collection of pieces that are placed in-front of two projectors. So I have an idea of how the art engages with the public and the construction of the work. Binks is using two DLP projectors, whilst I have a single LED projector. Both are very different, whilst I am also considering projecting video and not just colour onto my models.
I got a chance to meet Mark, who told me what was next for this work, it was exciting to hear what he wants to take the work, elevating it to something really special. I came away from the work with an idea of how to set up the work, whilst I hadn’t considered the public element to his work which makes it unique wherever it’s shown, the public truly shape and define it. After hearing from Mark this piece has a lot more mileage to go further, I can’t wait to see where it leads him, more projectors, more input from the public, here more is better.