* I experimented with rear projection and back projection at home using the same distances as my degree show space. Neither was successful: the image from the rear of viewers at that distance was too big for the wall available, and I couldn’t prevent viewers being able to see the projector beaming from the rear of my screen, so they were horribly dazzled. Here’s a taste:
* The projection box is intrusively tall, so I take it to bits, lop off its bottom 5inches, reassemble it, and count my blessings that Danielle’s clever technical planning meant I constructed it with screws, and minimal glue. Then I fill its new irregularities and repaint it. Looks MUCH better! I’d already checked the projector could project from this new steeper angle, and have not bothered restoring the large cable hole in its right side, because this was close to viewers and distracting. Wires will be just as hidden if they enter the box simply from its front.
* After some stressful sewing adventures, I finally decide the net does add a new dimension to the projection. It creates a second image on itself that is distorted by how the net hangs. The other image that passes through the net onto the wall behind is straight and unaffected. The viewer experience, now I have the angle and net/wall distance apart adjusted, is of one wafting wavering image floating in front of another crisp steady undistorted one. It suggests the shifting recall and retellings that I have been investigating, and if I hang the net straight and subtly enough, even viewers who know nothing about my project should have an unusual thought-provoking thing to see. I hang the net very carefully as straight as I can, and its full length, so it just hovers before the wall. Its pole and the batten supporting it are white painted, and I have kept hemming and edging to a minimum. It is all suspended by fishing line. It hovers like a ghostly gauze. The images look good. Here is a little glimpse:
* I put the bench in its place. It looks inviting but understated and crisp. I had worried about introducing furniture after seeing the crowded effect of soft furnishings at Electronic Superhighway, but I hope I’ve managed to avoid it here. The bench will make my viewers watch from a consistent-ish height, so they experience the double image effect as well as possible. It also invites them in to an environment that is pretty much invisible from the rest of my space. Of course it also evokes the ‘sitting together round the ciné projector’ domestic experience of my source material, and the collective and personal mental editing activity that I have been investigating.
* Hanging my pastel has not been easy. When I made it I was not clearly planning how it would be shown, and very eager to get on with making it. So it has one very long length of bare tracing paper to roll at its bottom edge, but maddeningly little at its top. I manage some reconstructive surgery, even having resorting to double sided tape, which I hate using. In the end the pastel looks as I hoped, as if it has been unrolled from a scroll, rather like a projection screen. Fingers crossed it will hold together for the length of the show, and we don’t have a heatwave to melt the beastly tape’s glue… I have placed it forward in its place, suspended the same way as the net, but at a comfortable viewing height, on white painted batten and dowel, with fishing line. It looks like it is hovering too, so the pieces feel visually related even though they are made so differently. I also like the 3D feel that hanging this way has brought to the space. They both feel like installations, and this experience of space is important to me. I think it makes a viewer feel what they are seeing in a more physical way, and for this project that is useful because I am dealing with an instinctive human impulse to make sense of our experiences in space and time.
* I have decided not to include other works in the Degree Show. These two pieces really do represent the culmination of my project to date. The pastel brought forward like it is seems to me to illustrate the prize we make of some personal or group recollections which are meaningless to ‘outsiders’. The animations are the result of all my earlier experiments and choices and edits, just like our personal internal narrative histories. So any other works would be distracting. The space is the perfect size to show these two pieces as I want to. If I put any other work in here it would disrupt our view of them, and alter the space. The bench is necessary, to create a mood, and direct the viewer to view as I have designed the projection. It references the viewer experiences I liked with Francis Alys at RISK in Margate, or the extended film in Bergen, both of which had minimalist but well placed seating that enhanced focus.
Final adjustments and details
* I have to ask Glen our tallest technician to help with some of this. It’s a frustrating thing to find I am too short to do some of the jobs that need doing to make my pieces look as good as possible, but for health and safety reasons I have to give in and get his help. Time is tight now, so I’m asking him to do all the high altitude things in one hit. So he fits my high trunking, in the corner behind my bench where it will be least obtrusive, fits the lights for my pastel space along the top of its tallest wall, tapes my wires along that so we can’t see them from below, and drills in place the batten that will suspend my net’s pole. KerChing! Things really are starting to get rather White Cube now!
* I gaffer tape the wire that runs from my trunking to the projection box to the foot of the wall and then the shortest distance across the floor into the box. I found grey tape, so it matches the floor. Also touch up areas of paint. Sweep the lot. Fit a flashing lights warning near the projection. Take some photos:
My space feels intimate, but bright and clean in the pastel section, and in the projection bit it feels comfortable but uncluttered and while the light is subdued, the projection is vivid. I have one final anxious moment. It is brilliantly sunny as I finish the work, so the lights that I installed to light the pastel better seem to do nothing. They do cast a shadow through it, however, so I am ready for a gloomy day or night time, and I haven’t managed to find brighter bulbs in time despite some frantic hunting – in fact I’m not sure they exist for these modern lamps.
I hope people will enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed assembling these works. Now I can see them up and presented in what I feel is the best way, it has been worth all the planning and attention.