Month: January 2015

laser drawings

got my exposure test roll back from the developers and it looks really promising. the images have the intense sharpness/luminous quality i’m after when held to a window. light box setup will be crucial.

i was testing a slow (100 iso) reversal (slide) film with the rollei on a tripod with cable release. it soon became obvious that the weak point at exposures of 2+ secs was the hand-held laser pointer. next roll will further narrow down exposure and test flexible clamp for the pointer.

following advice at the camera shop i hopefully know how to use the cable release without the film advance problems i’ve had up til now.

i’ve also ordered (glass) slide holders. i’d initially wondered about leaving the frames uncut, but the orientation on the film is wrong. i really don’t want to be messing with using the camera at 90• on the tripod.

achieving negs i’m happy with is obviously my main point for the final show, but at the same time i’m starting to think about the potential of printing from the slides, i’m seeing a big flashing “edition” arrow above this one – if i can translate the slide quality to a print.


the importance of chairs

whether digital or analogue, my work is fundamentally interactive in nature – it invites and rewards close attention.

but my experience of “interactive” art works is that of a participation threshold. if i sign up for a bobby baker show (i did, but sadly couldn’t make it) i’m already primed to expect a high degree of audience participation – the amount of involvement i’m prepared to give is high, because i understand the nature of her work.

but when approaching a piece by an unfamiliar artist – e.g. at a degree show – my participation threshold is much lower. if i feel that as a member of the audience it’s prolly a safe assumption i’m not alone. many people will just walk past works that require active participation on their side. so any invitation to participate will be more successful if it asks the very minimum of the viewer.

i see the book format as one such low-investment/high recognition form of interaction. the vast majority of people, when presented with a book, will understand and follow the conventions of its use. a chair is a similarly universal cue: take the weight off, relax a little, browse…

the book don’t panic contains links to extensive audio files and i want to include chairs (plural – the use of a speaker vs headphones is to open the experience up to the passing audience) to encourage the reader to listen to them at length.

why 2 chairs? because a single chair immediately puts the occupier under the spotlight, becoming the subject of the work to other viewers. i want to invite the casual viewer to look a little closer, to participate.

tech progress

1. solar etcher

  • have potential (laser-cut) turntable mechanism, needs adapting/reverse engineering (i’ve contacted the manufacturer in the hope they might let me at the source files).
  • testing “swingball” spiral mechanism.
  • testing “hammock” set-ups
  • need to address focal length/distance from back board
  • back board tilt mechanism

2. don’t panic book

  • cover mock-ups
  • test led setting/circuit

3. laser drawing

  • test reel (exposure) at processors – note 5 working day turnaround
  • dodgy cable release? take rollei to collect film/compare
  • black backdrop on order
  • flexible clamp (for laser pointer) received
  • jon said he’d check out the lightbox components i mailed him.

4. cyanotypes – stitched circuits – leds

  • test wonky connections w/resistors before the leds
  • dye/cyanotype over thread circuits? run tests
  • digital stitch circuits? maggie’s w/s
  • steve/darkroom/drying facilities
  • weight of fabric vs weight of components – ask maggie
  • hand stitch w/ss thread – ask maggie – 2 ply??

subject/field progress

my ideas for the final show are starting to crystallise.

4 elements, hopefully with a good balance between each:

  1. solar etcher images
  2. don’t panic book
  3. laser drawing lightbox
  4. cyanotypes/stitched circuits/leds

recurring use of materials, techniques and formal motifs should hopefully tie these potentially disparate pieces together:

  • (overarchingly) drawing with light, 1, 2, 3, 4
  • (also) spheres/arcs/spirals, 1, 2, 3, 4
  • ball lenses used in 1, 3, 4
  • square format, 1, 3, 4
  • dark grey book cloth used in 2, 3
  • visible electronic circuits in 2, 4
  • common components e.g. using same hardware across (e.g. mechanical) elements.

the curation issues i’ve so far identified include:

  • low light area (esp. for 3, 4)
  • seating/table for book/speaker (long audio, encourage viewer/listener to linger)
  • lightbox for transparencies w/rack and pinion mechanical movement of a ball lens loupe (to be constructed)
  • to show or not to show my workings? showreel vid could showcase the e.g. cameras and apparatus used to produce exhibition work. do i physically want the machines present? interactive or under glass? museum aesthetic.

i think i surprised pip with my description of my idea of the show as an “office” setting. call it a home-office, study or library, and i hope that makes more sense. late nights, smoke, components, computers, defunct technologies, there’s a comfy chair under that pile of printouts somewhere…

specific points i’d like to address are how to achieve the atmosphere i’m after. i have a set of matching 1970s tan leather swivel chairs that could work well with the book element. it may be possible to include one of my dad’s chairs, i really like the psychic significance of that as part of the show.

also in terms of psychic significance the idea of a library makes me wonder whether to include the (3) source material books in the show. one on dna, one on astronomy and one on meteorology for glider pilots.