Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
Ideas? Technical issues?
» Feedback to a-n
By: Sophie Cullinan
Part of GrowYourOwn*BlowYourOwn. An Arts Council England sponsored project. This is the 'multiple participant project' element which will be an interactive installation at Fermynwoods Country Park, Northamptonshire.
# 18 [12 June 2012]
With the project now finished, I have just returned from taking everything down. The tree circle at the park now looks exceptionally dull. Wondering what to do with the Fruitflowers. They looked lovely all lying on the ground and reminded me a little of the wonderful glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly at the V&A. Thinking that I would like to hang them like this, somewhere with a very high ceiling. I have already devised a way to put lights inside them but have yet to test this out. Perhaps I should look for an opportunity for this.....
The physicality of carrying the flowers and their copious hose made me feel somewhat like a fairytale character. They are heavier and more cumbersome than they look. I am expecting a slow release of wildlife into my car as insects escape the tubes.
Another lesson in nature awaited me when removing my 'please don't overinflate' signs - I found behind each had gathered a large family of woodlice - all frantically scurrying when i took away their cosy shelters.
And finally, here is the 'waking ceremony' we did for the Private View - with all the children running to the flowers to activate them for the first time. With everything happening so fast, I did not know where to point the camera.
# 17 [2 June 2012]
Just loaded my first films onto Vimeo! So proud of myself being a bit of a technophobe. Not edited brillianty and I think this is the first law of why you should hire a proffessional for film-making but here you are - you can get the gist of the Fruitflowers from these - many more to come.....
# 16 [31 May 2012]
Just been up to the park for my daily check on the Fruitflowers and found several broken air pumps. I am not really surpised - they are not designed for this kind of intensive use - but the thing that did surprise me was that it wasn't the 'pound store' ones that were broken but the more upmarket supermarket versions. Of course this is not an observation based on scientific research - maybe these are more appealing - they are bigger and look more robust so perhaps they have been overused and the cheapy ones overlooked. Also some of the more expensive ones were wedged permanantly into some of the really good flowers so maybe they just gave up after extended pumping.
I will never know.
# 15 [29 May 2012]
Everything is still looking good up at the park. Not sure quite how many Fruitflowers are still working as I found the end of a balloon on the floor so I imagine there may have been a bit of 'overinflation' going on but that is to be expected - how could a small child resist?
As with my previous outdoor Multiple Participant Project working outside with natural materials always produces interesting challenges. When we were installing the work we found that the trees had very strong ideas about which way they wanted the attached branches to lean - not always in the gravititional way expected. After a lot of struggling with trying to go against the flow - I realised that this should have been completely obvious to me - if I had something strapped to me for a fortnight I might have a few views about which way it was hanging too! And it was only when we stopped fighting with nature and let the trees have their say that things became much quicker and easier. This could of course be seen as trying to take the easy route, but the result is that the branches are different to how I expected and strangely better than my plan.
The current issue is now that each time I have gone to check the work, the branches have either started to hang lower or decided that they want to be higher up - no continuity at all! I need to address the issue of low hanging branches as although it looks lovely I don't want people to be able to reach them just incase anyone decides to do a bit of tarzan swinging. Hugh has developed a good way of fixing this. As for up high...
The trees know best.
# 14 [25 May 2012]
Private View/ concert went briliantly this morning - so glad the weather was perfect for it. Both schools of children arrived at the site at from different ends of the park with lots of parents too.
The wonderful drum facilitator Simon Stokes did an amazing job - we had decided to have a ceremony to wake up the flowers. This involved some of the children drumming, some with insect noises and some with tubes to bash together. At a given sign the children with the tubes ran down to the tree circle to start blowing up the Fruitflowers. Fabulous chaos insued. A couple of fruitflowers popped but quite a lot made good noises and the children were transfixed looking up into the trees to see which flower they were inflating. As they pumped up the flowers the drumming continued with children swapping to drum and blow flowers. It was magical.
Here are a few pictures - there are so many that I may be forced to make multiple postings today......
# 13 [24 May 2012]
It's been a long and very hot day - not good for mongolian throat warbling sounds. However the Fruitflowers are all up and look fabulous.
As would be expected it was much harder than expected to put them up but with my ever resourceful and inventive technical adviser, Hugh, we managed to work out the best way to get the work plus approx 200m of hose in the air. Cable ties are my new love.
# 12 [23 May 2012]
Installation tomorrow. Today I have been putting the sound bits into the tubes and had a trying day as I have discovered that a project conceived in January in the cold weather is not necessarily the same on a hot May day. The plastic tubes are refusing to play ball. Wheras my four sample Fruitflowers worked perfectly up until the weekend they are now refusing to make the right sound.
Having put some of the 'sound bits' into the freezer, I have established that it is a heat issue. I don't think there is anything I can do about this. We will have the noises that we have. They may not be quite what I had planned.
It will be a completely improvised performance.
# 11 [17 May 2012]
No time to write tonight but thought I would post some of the pictures I took today of all the individual fruitflowers - really pleased with how they look together too.
# 10 [16 May 2012]
I've been putting all the fruitflowers together today - this takes forever! Very pleased with how they are looking though and having now collected the 200m of tubing that I need to get the air into them (that I need to paint green but have no idea how) everything is coming together. One more workshop with seven more fruitflowers to complete until we have fifty.
Exciting news. I have found a conductor for the Private View/launch concert on Friday morning. By chance last summer I attended (with my children and their friends) a drumming workshop. Simon Stokes is a Drum Circle facilitator and musician. We had an amazing time at his workshop using a circle of drums and creating beats and different rhythms in groups. He will be perfect for this 'once in a lifetime' experience (I hope and pray it works!).
Also a local banner company has agreed to make the banner to go outside the country park for me. I love it when you find nice people.
# 9 [12 May 2012]
Day two of of Brigstock workshops - putting it all together.....
Children found it very disconcerting that they left big round balls and found shrivelled things when they came back. Luckily all makes sense (relatively) at the end.
To see the rest of the pictures from the workshops (there are many) go to:
Artist with an interest in participatory/interacitve art created/destroyed by the viewer/participant.