Today I’ve been focusing on a suggestion that was made to me during the open studio last week. Focusing on the audio – playing with that to see it through and see if anything comes out of that experimentation. If I’m honest, whenever your given ideas so late into a piece of work that you know is almost complete aren’t generally appreciated. If anything it’s just little hints and tips to refine it.
After editing together the final versions of the videos to be projected into the model miniatures. I wanted to look at even the possibility of a solely audio element. So taking the nearest model miniature to hand and tweaking its video to become another test. I copied and lifted the audio and began to play about with it. I settled on a version where the segments of audio slightly overlapped each other.
Testing this first version I could see straight away that something was happening. The audio fills the space more immersive than the projection on its own. It also acts as draw to the piece without the need for video, which is a bonus. The projection is confined to the space it’s directed to also, which is limiting.
However I took the video idea further by refining the test further. I first adjusted the volume of the audio track, whilst adding the video to the end with no audio, which was again very effective. It leaves the visuals open to interpretation what the audio might me, which draws the piece back to one of the principles of my work – not to insult the imagination of the audience. Removing audio is another way of achieving that. The audio can be unnerving on first experiencing the audio can be quite jarring and also cliche. Slow-motion action with the slow-motion audio on loop can be hard on the ears, but that’s what draws you to the piece, the strangeness of it is a characteristic of the piece I don’t want to loose. The audio is a cry for help and attention.
So where do I go from here? I need to decide how if any of these elements goes through to the final outcome and rolling them out. Otherwise I’ll keep the refined versions ready to show.
It’s been a long and trying day in the studio. I came in wanting to set up all of the model miniatures ready to document ready for submissions. However I was hit by a two technical issues, one clearly my fault, the other I just can’t understand. So I need to by more kit than I had already planned to ensure that these 4 can be working together.
All said and done I have had the time to get everything done that aimed to do, Sundays are pretty good to allow me to get more done in the studio. I have to now consider the possibility of now adding an audio element to these pieces. After an interesting conversation during open studios yesterday.
I could be adding (if only to see what happens) audio only elements to the videos that are projected, I could add the opposite of pairs audio in each piece to see what happens. Whilst also having an audio version of the videos should play on their own. I’m interested to see how this works as it allows the spaces to be completely filled, not just to projected in a carefully chosen area. I know that I can’t try too many more ideas as the piece is fast approaching its conclusion. Testing many more elements would be too much at this stage. All said and done this is an idea I can’t ignore.
I’m going to have a busy week now writing submissions now.
After 4 days straight in the studio, I’m tired. I’ve completed all I set out to do – to fix the projectors into the four model miniatures. I’ve removed the need for horrible tripods, which looked horrible and also created a real hazard in the dark. Having removed that I’ve now got everything attached or concealed to each piece, whilst hopefully they will be fire safe too. They are all secure and well ventilated allowing them to project the slow-motion violence into the spaces. They may no longer consume them. but they are more intimate which can only add to t he miniature aesthetic.
Onto today’s piece I quickly set on where the project would go, It wasn’t going to be hidden in the double bed. For once it was going to be suspended well raised above and attached to the a wall. The fixing had to be right for everything to work, otherwise it would be loose and dangerous. I was careful when even trying the projector in its final position. Angling and support were the first things to get right. The angling was achieved and ensured with five pieces of lattice that sit below the shelf.
Once those criteria were met I moved onto securely holding the projector above adding ventilation and allowing easy access to the ports/buttons. Once this was sorts I could fix in place, and work on the hidden pocket that concealed the media player within the plinth. I finished the day by returning to the first model miniature and hiding the supports in the bar, boxing out the bar before I got the paint out to begin work on the new features that I want to be seen as part of the pieces, whilst others will be left bare. I’m still not happy with the structure I made yesterday, it maybe completely redesigned before it’s fixed in place. Even though I have begun painting it, that won’t stop me.
Next time it will be all about making the new plinth and carrying on the painting of the new pieces which then allow new tests to be carried out.
We’re into the final half of the Easter holiday and I’m doing well. With a structure in place to hold the projector for the Japanese model. One that I am beginning to have second thoughts about now. However I need to see how it looks once painted. Part of me is not used to such a massive change that from the view I’ve been looking at to be obstructed. It wasn’t an easy decision after looking at all the possible positions for the projector to site. I was prepared to construct a bar for it to sit with in at an angle.
The construction of the piece was pretty straight forward once I got the initial height to build a base which I could then adapt, cutting into and repositioning to allow the projection to dramatically fall onto the back wall. The position of the piece now means that a new plinth’s required too. Working with the base, to consider the ventilation I worked in a lattice pattern that would also look interesting and allow the viewer to see within to what is slightly hidden – maybe that’s a fair compromise that I need to accept here.
Now all I have to do is paint and more than likely fix in place ready for presentation. I’ll make a start on a new plinth once all the projector positions have been sorted and painting is underway. Laying the groundwork with new tracking in place. I’ll be making use of the old one to make a start on the new. I have also been looking at added a line of cardboard around the interior of the bar in yesterday’s model miniatures to hide the additions, I’ll paint all the new additions too that sit within the model. The first one I’ll leave bare as its external. Lastly I have the biggest and most interesting model to work with. I’m not sure where the project will go. I have a lot of space to place with too.
I’ve got four days off during the Easter break and my intention is to make use of them at the studio. During the week I had some ideas for how to contain the projector within the model miniatures. Taking the sketches with me I had a few options – 1 a bar across the top of the pieces with a secured and angles projector above, positioned into the work. 2 – angled below and also secured in place and 3 – a concealed projector within the piece, which I drew up sketches of where they could potentially go based on each piece.
All being very unique I have decided to work with each one alone, allowing me to focus better on them. I began with The Great Silence saloon, moving the projector around the space, looking at the possibilities before deiced what was best. With this one I went with option 2. With some new cardboard I found at work, which is surprisingly strong 1ply card, I began to construct a case that is individually tailored to the model, the angle of the projectors and the distance. I have made the decision that this should be the method used for all of them. The case considers all necessary ports and ventilation to reduced the risk of fire. The real test will be to leave the pieces on for an extended period of time to see how they work and will withstand.
Concerning the cables I have made a small cut into the plinth and also made a pocket/shelf to holder the media player inside the plinth. I think this will be a standard piece, whilst the option for the projector will vary. I’m happy with how well it’s gone, something I’ve not done (securing kit with cardboard) since my degree show piece. So far it’s going well, the real test will come when I have to conceal as I’ll probably have to repaint or remake sections. It’s nothing I can’t handle, I’m confident that it will turn out well.
It’s been an interesting day in the studio. I now have kit that makes the set-up a lot easier, which allowed me to focus on what’s going on in the work it self and not lose time. I began by editing the other pair of videos, however I might hold back on that idea as I’ve been advised as much as I wanted the clips of slow motion violence to play consecutively, if both pieces are not started together then an overlap will eventually build up. There is a piece of kit that is available, however as I have done with all my work, I want to keep it simple. At least for now I have the method of how to approach this technique. However I might re-edit them.
During that process I was trimming down both test videos to so both show more or less clips of violence, even re-timing them in places. I’ll again re-time them to have similar breaks in-between each reaction to violence. Today I went back to an earlier edit, which I feel works to get an idea.
Looking forward I discussed the presentation with another artist in the studio who suggested that the projectors I am using could be concealed, this would work for two reasons. One if the work was shown in a lit space I need to still have the image visible. concealing the projector within the model miniature would ensure the image is not lost. I would however lose the blanket projection over the model. All of the models can potentially hide a projector, if I made the decision and began to make cuts, it’s a change that I can’t reverse. Two it would also remove what is becoming a nasty site to see, the projectors on tripods takes up a lot of room. If they are worked into the model miniature, I can hide the wires (and lose the blue light from the media player. It’s something I need to investigate.
I’m also looking at projector boxes to do the same job of concealing the wires but not concealed in the model miniature. Either option means more work, the concealing is more appealing, and would make the work more versatile. I’m leaning towards that making them more unique, not relying on external pieces, keeping it within the model miniature is a fun idea.
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.
Can’t find earlier posts? – you can find them all here in diary form
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.