Here are some pictures of my final installation from yesterday afternoon (my installation is outlined by the yellow tape). As you can see, I was working in very close proximity to George who made the silver and pink installation. Although there was no explicit collaboration involved in these two pieces, it is interesting to note the inevitable dialogue that occurs when two works of a similar shape are placed in close proximity to each other:
The installations were viewed in 3×20 minute blocks of 8 students at a time. This process of viewing the work was stimulating and at times overwhelming. With each of the works lined up in the relatively small gallery space the images did not always get a chance to breath. However, the productive affect of this was a kind of semiotic assault, where particular words, images or objects jumped out with a beguiling resonance. Here are just three images from some of the other students’ work that particularly stood out for me:
We followed this work with a series of reflection and response exercises introduced by Lin. The first was to make a score that documented our process of making the work and to instal it on the site where our installation had been. I presented this on 12 titled luggage tags with the following hand written content:
Pattern Recognition: This perceptual frame was useful in both determining what observations to document and how to realise this in the work (3 orange cones, a perfect line of ‘segway tourists’, bright yellow road markings etc…)
Colour(s): I was trying to think of ways to translate the visual aspects of my site beyond literal representation. The colour yellow became important as did diagonal lines.
Lines: I really enjoy the lines that can be made through space using wool. This is something I have explored in previous works and I was pleased that it could be incorporated here.
Perspective: I started to think of my installation space as a conflation of the time that I was at my site and the space of the site itself – hence ‘12.30’ was also my vantage point.
Serial: I took great inspiration from Bernd and Hiller Becher’s Gable-Sided Houses in terms of a methodical and detailed approach to documentation. This led to my decision to mark off 12 distinct areas for my observations.
Titling: The act of titling became an important way to organise my thoughts around 12 observations, these titles then fed into the text of the piece – albeit in a changed or abbreviated way.
Photographic Documentation: 9 out of 12 of my observations were documented using photographs (which I then titled). This gave me a rich aesthetic prompt for the work. Looking to these images for colours/shapes etc.
On Materiality: I was worried that the text in the piece would restrict the potential for the materials to be a ‘self-creative’ force. I was therefore interested in exploring text as texture through the use of stick-on letters and luggage tags.
The Phantom Landscape: In Magritte’s 1928 painting The Phantom Landscape the word montagne (mountain) is written in front of a fairly classic portrait of a woman. I wanted to explore a playful discrepancy between words and images.
Stakes: The wooden stakes were accidental. They were fortuitously found on the wrong shelf in Home Depot. The arrow like form seemed to speak to aspects of time and perspective that I was interested in.
Cones: I had originally planned to paint my ice-cream cones orange to look like traffic cones. However, once they were in the space I enjoyed their dual (or even confusing) representational capabilities.
Skewers: I wish I was more competent at making geometrical constructions from kebab skewers…
This method of scoring the process on the location of the original work was fascinating to me. It allowed for the work to be in dialogue with its documentation. The marks and traces of the original installation still visible on the site of its reflection
We were also asked to write a series of questions that came up as a result of making these installations. We would then pick one of these questions for our partner to attempt to answer. This was an extremely useful prompt to encourage self reflection, criticality and ideas for further development. My questions were:
- How do words function as material?
- Do they (words) restrict the possibility of ‘self-creative’ materiality?
- How can I explore the concept of projective geometry further?
- Was this work a series of abstracted shapes, colours and lines or a miniature representation of the site?
- To what extent is the site still present in the work?
- How did the floor plan inform the installation?
My initial worry about my lack of skills and experience working with and installing materials in this way eventually gave way to a realisation that my aesthetic concerns and influences when working on this piece were similar to when I am developing performance. I thought carefully about the function of text, the use of colour and the shapes and images created by the relation of things in space.