Following on from my busy year working on the ‘Hidden Landscapes Project’ and adjusting to the new demands of motherhood, I’m still trying to fathom how it’s all going to pan out.
My work continues to focus on the town I grew up in and the place I, since starting a family, call home again. It is the epitome of ‘leafy suburbanness’ and remains endlessly curious to me.
After a bit of a tight deadline getting the Artefacts app together for last night’s launch, Simon and Richard managed to pull it out of the bag and deliver a fantastic interactive presentation, that trials a new proximity based technology called iBeacons.
For the exhibition this has meant that each piece has been connected to a multilayered network of buried information that responds to your location within the gallery.
This stage is obviously a vital learning point for them as they try to navigate their way through the unforseeable glitches and snags that inevitably arise from any new technology, but at the end of it… out of nothing, we have something that mostly does what it’s suppose to do and is really exciting.
As an artist trying to fathom a new medium it has presented a wealth of interactive possibilities. As they’ve trialed the technology I’ve been able to trial the conceptual possibilities as part of developing my research. For the technology this is the first tentative step towards something more developed and accomplished and for me it has allowed things to move off into more unexpected avenues of enquiry.
Largely, iBeacons will be used to sell you 2 for 1 offers, but as Townhouse are working on developing, it will also hopefully provide possibilities for much more interesting interactions too. Providing a creative tool for innovative and thought provoking encounters to challenge our physical, virtual and imaginative landscape.
The exhibition is on until the 27th June at Letchworth Arts Centre (I know… it’s Hertfordshire and I know it’s a whole half an hour train ride from London but there’s a lovely coffee shop when you get here…and they even do food!)
Just in the depths of the busiest week bringing the app together but my side of things in terms of handing over the content is almost done… I just hope that what seems to make sense to me, actually makes sense in app form…
Here’s the poster and press release…
Artefacts from Forgotten Places
An exhibition by artist Christina Bryant in collaboration with Townhouse Creative
Letchworth Arts Centre, Cafe Gallery
3 – 27 June 2014
“Letchworth Arts Centre is pleased to present Artefacts from Forgotten Places, an interactive exhibition by artist Christina Bryant in collaboration with local business, Townhouse Creative.
The exhibition will bring together a collection of finds for display, originally excavated as part of the Hidden Landscapes Project in 2013 and will focus on the idea of the found object as contemporary artefact. Through the use of proximity based technology (iBeacons) and a free downloadable app the objects will be presented as a catalyst for imaginary encounters and artistic exploration of the more mysterious and wild places within the Garden City landscape. The free Artefacts app will allow an audience to interact and unearth a series of hidden layers of information and illustrations as they explore the gallery and the objects on display, using their own personal smartphones.
This exhibition examines further the fascinating use of the officialdom of archaeological language as a device for unearthing the lost, ignored or forgotten within our present day landscape and can be thought of as a kind of museum of the marginal, searching out the objects and people that end up or are pushed to the edges of a town.
Please join us on Wednesday 4th June from 6.30 pm, for a special event where you can meet both the artist and Townhouse Creative (the brains behind the technology) to view the exhibition and discuss the ideas, development and application involved in creating it.
Bryant graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2004 and completed her MA in 2011 at Wimbledon College of Art. Her year long ACE funded research and development project, Hidden Landscapes ran until Aug 2013. More details of the project and its findings can be viewed on the website www.hiddenlandscapesproject.wordpress.com“
Currently leading up to the ‘Artefacts from Forgotten Places’ exhibition and working on five new drawings. These are quite different from previous artefact drawings and can be described more as illustrations. I’ve decided to do them entirely on the computer using a graphics tablet. This is a first for me but as they will be shown purely in digital format, I felt it was the most natural choice of medium. I love the clean separation of it, for this particular purpose.
These drawings will be archaeological style reconstructions, imagined through my findings from the sites that I studied for the Hidden Landscapes Project last year. Bringing the findings to this point is quite poignant. A chance to depict a series of scenarios and characters, that exist inside my head, in the most direct way yet. Deliberately, they are buried within an app and will be viewed only on smartphones and other such personal devices. It felt like the most appropriate way of displaying them.
They will be attached virtually to an artefact and made available to view through the free app that will accompany the exhibition.
There are a lot of unknowns. It is a first for Townhouse, whom I am collaborating with and a complete first for me. Relying on technology so heavily for an exhibition is likely to give me some serious jitters but having the knowledge and capabilities made available is such a great opportunity. Having these opportunities to experiment and work with professionals from areas I am practically clueless about is one of the things I really do love about being an artist. It sometimes feels like everyday is work-experience day!
Once a month blogging isn’t really what I had in mind when setting out but while this time stuff insists on moving along at a record pace, it will just have to do I guess.
A month block is far too long a gap to relay and the A Vision of Utopia exhibition – which has been the main thing going on over that time – has been about the weirdest thing I’ve ever been a part of. Basically, almost noone in the town seems to know about it. I sort of feel like I’ve just had one of those rather odd dreams that leaves you with a peculiar feeling all the next day. Something doesn’t quite add up. There is some great work and hardly anyone will see it.
Anyway, I’m now looking forward to an exhibition in June that will be the result of a collaboration with a local business called Townhouse. I think they would describe themselves as web designers, but their creative output and ideas seems to span much further beyond that label.
The exhibition will be called ‘Artefacts from Forgotten Places’ and will re-examine some of the finds from my Hidden Landscapes project last year. It will focus on the artefact as the starting point and through a specially created app, designed by Townhouse, will use Beacons to create a spatially interactive, multilayered presentation. It’s been an interesting experience, trying to get my head around the technology and the potential of working within this other space. The place is the Cafe of the Letchworth Arts Centre. A rather small area for display, but with the app, the work can fold out into something much larger in content and depth. I love the idea that much of what I will be showing will be hidden unless you choose to go digging (and download the free app). A number of pieces I am making for it will be made to be seen exclusively on visitors’ phones or ipods.
Chatting through things at a meeting on Friday, with the guys at Townhouse, the possibilities seem to be endless. It’s very exciting to be given this opportunity to explore its potential within my work.
My piece Recordings from a Site of Minor Disorder, commissioned for the Letchworth: A Vision of Utopia exhibition is now up! It has been such a tight deadline from initial brief to now, that I have barely had a moment to pause. The new site, located very close to town, between the railway line and Station Way has been analysed, mapped, part ‘excavated’ and sound recorded and the findings are on show at Letchworth Town Hall until the end of April. There is also a site intervention left within the site itself.
Now the pause.
And hopefully a chance to see the other two artists work that was also set up last week. Samara Scott at the International Garden Cities Exhibition and Johann Arens at the partly deconstructed Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery. And over the course of this month, eight more artists will be installing work across the town.
It is a fascinating experience, having the art come to you. Someone must have realised I’m not getting out much…
Also, although pushed for time, the realisation of this piece has felt rather liberating – I’ve been nipping off when I can steal a moment, to get lost in the concealment of this inbetween place. I’m starting to feel strangely rather more at ease within it, handling and analysing the ‘finds’ and the funny sideways glances, than I might have done in the past. So much so I think I almost bypass the knowledge that much of what I am handling is generally considered gross or completely mundane. It is just material.
I’ve left my mark in the site and am now not sure if I’m finding disorder or creating it. Walking away and leaving the excavation intervention exposed in the woods felt like something inbetween a weird act of self expression or unlawful rebellion, yet in the knowledge I ‘sort of’ have permission, somehow official. It also now feels vunerable to attack and I guess it provokes that response precisely. Does any form of order in a space claimed for disorder stand a chance?
I’ll head back soon and find out…
Working at A Site of Minor Disorder, Letchworth Garden City