Month: March 2014

dear budapest – health and safety

a few points along risk-assessment lines i’ve considered during the project.

structure of the tent is based around a dutch “storm tent”, designed to withstand wind. the open structure will allow high winds to pass through. the tent may not provide much in the way of rain resistance but the materials used (mostly cotton) will not deteriorate in wet conditions for the length of the festival.

there may be risk of tripping due to the pegs/guy ropes, as with any tent, but the configuration of many pegs close to the base of the tent minimises the problems of long guy lines. damage to the person or structure from such accidents should be minimal, due to the elastic nature of the tent structure.

while i’ve modelled the tent with a central pole, ideally it would be supported from above, meaning there would be no hard materials used apart from the tent pegs and mirror .

i’ve sourced a polycarbonate mirror that is “virtually indestructible” and recommended for use in such environments as prisons. it will need to be firmly sited on a flat base to prevent danger of cracking from being walked on.

if the whole tent were to be pulled down there should be minimal impact due to its light weight and open structure.

the structure will need to be lit at night to prevent falling/tripping incidents.

the project will require public liability insurance for a one-off event that includes cover for the european union.

dear budapest loose ends

there are some aspects of the proposal i probably won’t have time to address before our deadline. the main one is lighting.

being a festival proposal, from the outset i felt it was important for the structure to function at night as well as in the day. my initial plan included illuminated balloons for the final release. while this would have added to the spectacle i was adamant that i wanted all materials released to biodegrade, which ruled out the inclusion of leds. this decision also reflected budget constraints.

i’m still intending for the structure to be lit at night. after speaking to a friend who works in theatre i was quite excited about the possibilities for lighting using projected images or shapes, introducing another layer of playing with light. however the cost of such equipment would require hiring and i wouldn’t be confident leaving it to fend for itself over the time when the structure would be unattended. the simplest/cheapest option would be to attach solar-powered net or string lights to the inside of the structure. while the provision of some ambient lighting would be better than none it does lack drama.

other aspects i’ve yet to cover include contextual material and signage. i intend to screen print fabric panels using larger/more detailed examples of hungarian textile design, and including historical information about those traditions. another panel would explain the project and provide information about participation sessions and the date/time of the balloon release.

i was hoping to set up an example website, i should at least be able to mock up some screen shots to give a idea of the site structure in the time remaining.

i’ve also yet to finalise the plan for the balloon release, or determine the number of balloons that could actually fit inside the structure. from working with my scale model i’ve discovered that my working estimate of 700 messages (100 per day of the festival) would not cover the structure entirely. where the flags are most densely packed towards the top there will be more cover than lower down the structure. there may be a possibility to produce more flags, but there may not be enough room in the structure to contain the additional balloons. it might be possible to extend the area of the structure with some kind of attached netting, but i’d need to find a method that would reliably release them in one single event.

dear budapest scale model shoot

i’ve been waiting forever for a clear day to shoot the model.

crochet structure side view

pattern scale is 1:1 – i’d continue with this sample until it was tent-sized. structure scale is 1:10. of everything that i’ve made for the model i’m most excited about the little tent pegs i carved from lolly sticks 😀

crochet structure top view

this is the first time i’ve seen the sample in 3 dimensions. i like the way the “arms” of the structure wrap around to the front. the shape reflects very nicely my beloved de waard that served as inspiration for the overall shape of the tent. central areas are large enough to stand upright, and you can sit or lie comfortably further out around the edges..

for the model I’ve used a central pole for support. ideally the structure would be supported by guy lines to the top, leaving a clear central area and less risk of people hurting themselves walking into the structure when under the influence.

this view shows the central mirror – to add an extra dimension , reflecting the light and patterns from above. the idea was drawn from islamic architecture and the use of a central pool or pond in a courtyard. i’d like to extend the textiles influence to the mirror so i plan to mimic a shisha embroidery stitch around the edge, using the same dyed cotton string as used for the crochet structure. i’ve source a virtually unbreakable polycarbonate mirror (on a slightly smaller scale – 1m diameter) as used in prisons 😀

as the structure becomes covered in flags the quality of the light inside will change.

message flags displayed on structure

i was imagining a spiral of flags covering the structure from the top, but having experimented with the model i think stringing them vertically may turn out to be most practical/effective. i’m happy with the play of light inside, and excited to see how the techniques and materials could translate into a final large piece.


i took these pictures in a busy local park, away from the paths. i wasn’t expecting to draw any attention, but i got a compliment from a passer-by which was a real boost. i’ve never exhibited or really put my work “out there” except online before. so to get unexpected feedback about it, to interact with someone because of it, well, that was pretty cool 🙂

land artists

an unexpected result of the public art module for me has been my growing fascination with land art. i admire the scale, the vision, the selection and use of materials, the geometric simplicity of many of the forms. my interest surely derives in part from my experience and interests as an archaeology student, the impact and significance of ritual landscapes (especially in the neolithic and bronze ages), the experience of immersing yourself in the monuments.

robert smithson | spiral jetty | 1970
richard long | a line in scotland |1981
andy goldsworthy
james turrell | revised outlook | 2005

i briefly considered the possibility of carving out a kind of stepped structure for seating inside my festival tent. i liked the idea of using the ground as one of my materials, given i have such size/weight constraints and a very small budget. it was also inspired by the knowledge that part of the festival site includes a beach – i figured that sculpting sand would be a less labour intensive and permanent process than using soil.

i found out that the beach is composed mostly of shell which i don’t imagine would sculpt as well or withstand much use. overall i decided the idea was too labour intensive and i was unlikely to receive permission to excavate on the festival site.