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.
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.
It’s a rather short day, however I’ve done all I’ve set out to do. Before I get onto what happened today I want to share the video documentation of the projection tests from last time in the studio. I’ve placed both tests alongside each other to see how they look. The Unforgiven one is short by about 20 seconds. I could match that longer one Yurusarezaru mono to take out portions. However that could effect the impact or effectiveness of the piece. Of course these are only test and I have yet to shortened/remove the gaps, which will effect both pieces. It could be a vicious circle.
Moving onto today’s projection tests with the latest piece – The Great Silence (1968) which I’ve found to be very successful. That’s with the piece in two positions I tried out. I’m now torn as to which way I go, the standard straight on approach on it’s side. Having the projection direction onto the back wall gives it a sense of place, we can see that the action took place in this setting. Yet when its projected onto the floor there’s something else going on. The image is more clear, yet I’ve always like how the furniture breaks up the image, it’s more dramatic. I need to see how the video footage works when I review it later.
Lastly the painting of the replacement tables is almost over, I’m thinking another coat and they can be installed. I’ll run another projection test to see how they footage works against them.
I feel I’m getting back to 100% now so I can put more of myself into the work again. Allowing me today to finally bring two of the model miniatures together. It’s been a day of progress with a massive limitation which I’ll get to later. I began the day by getting the paint out again to add another coat to the remaining pieces. Which are slowly becoming a solid white.
I spent the majority of my day in the project space starting to see how the finished piece will look which is finally starting to come together. I’ve been working with the extended saloon and the Japanese piece, which I forgot how heavy it actually is when I brought it down to the space. Sadly I can’t see the two projected at the same time as yet, something I need to work on (financially). Looking at how these two pieces work opposite each other, which is still hard to tell really. What I do know is that they need to be at least 3-4 meters apart, allowing for the projected image sit in the pieces and the audience to explore them. The saloon front is now being dropped, they will add nothing to the look of the pieces. At least one wont be sitting to allow this to happen. Also the work will be in a dark space, which leaves them invisible to the viewer, so I’m wasting my time on these pieces.
On a positive, staying with presentation pieces I looked at how the extended saloon would work on its side, the open section looking on facing the table. I would have needed to paint an otherwise hidden piece that was left bare as its generally out of view. Looking similar to the Japanese piece which really needs to be on it’s side to work. I am however considering removing the suspended light as it does create an obstruction. I know that once it’s removed, its not going back in.
So I need to invest in more kit, sooner rather than later as I realise this piece. If I am to see how at least a pair work together they need to be projecting simultaneously, then I can look at timing of the pieces which is also important to how each pair works, do they play together or one after the other? I need to ask the questions to know how things will look.
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.