6/4/20 – REFINING DESIGNS
I planned to do this work on the weekend, however, I’ve been finding it so hard to find motivation and be productive continuing this work, especially as my initial project has been totally derailed it is hard to find focus in the work I’ve been producing at home. It’s also unmotivating knowing that no one’s going to see it, I’m not going to go in on Tuesday morning and presenting my work to the class, so I don’t necessarily feel pressure to have my work completed in time. Anyway, so today I analysed the posters I produced and make subtle changes that I felt would make them more successful.
For the first poster, I fixed some of the smaller details and mistake, reduced the size of the text in the arrow-shaped boxes so they fit better, with more even negative space, and darkened the ‘best before’ as it’s a distracting bit of text that isn’t super important to the message of the poster, and I realised that the audience would read that in between the flow of information when I tested the posters with my family. I also changed the lettering on ‘Your Kitchen’ and redrew it to feel more like a high-end restaurant.
For the second poster, I added a line to separate the mattress and the bed frame to make the illustration clearer. I also replaced the ‘an exciting adventure awaits’ with a handwritten one, by following the shape of the original so that it looks slightly less perfect yet still clean, to fit the mid-century feel.
For the third poster, I made the last piece of toilet paper a darker shade, as it looks between aesthetically and fits the pattern of shades. I also replaced the text with a handwritten version in the same typeface in order to fit the overall tone of the design and again make it less perfect, but still clean.
For the fourth poster, I darkened the background and made the shade a bit more grey-toned, to have more continuity between all of the posters. I also added a white layer under the swirl to make it feel bouncier and elevate the design a bit. Finally, I layered ‘work from home’ over the swirl to make the design feel more connected. I’m quite happy with these posters now I feel like they really capturing the sense of confusion, fragmentation but also excitement (for the drastic change in lifestyle) that we’re all feeling being stuck in one location, and how our homes have become even more significant spaces to us.
3/4/20 – FORTH POSTER
Today’s poster was based around the bathroom and I couldn’t not make a reference to the whole toilet paper crisis. Because there was a lot of jokes going around saying that toilet paper was a luxury and was rare to find in supermarkets, I wanted to play into the whole luxury travel advertisement aesthetic, with simple three-word phrases made up of long pretentious words, yet keeping the mid-century inspired look throughout. I am quite satisfied with this one if anything I would maybe think again about the placement of some of the wording. I started off actually with hand-drawn lettering however it just wasn’t clean and clear enough and didn’t seem to reference luxury travel advertisement at all. I would say the colour choices don’t either, but they are fitting with the tone of the posters and there is a consistent colour scheme throughout. I think I am going to stop here with the posters I think 4 is a good number, instead this weekend I am going to tweak areas of concern in the poster design, and then also think more about output method. I like the idea of branding the entire experience of being made to stay indoors as a holiday package.
2/4/20 – THIRD POSTER
In today’s poster design the space of isolation that I focussed on was the living room. A lot of people right now are very bored stuck in their homes so have been watching a lot of television. This enjoyment of arts and culture is something that is incredibly associated with the living and is what makes the space significant. It’s a place where we lose time in isolation and to expand our experiences, even though our experiences right now are limited to the walls of our house or perhaps the supermarket. I thought about iconography with television and one thing that really stood out to me was the Netflix logo. Initially, I designed it so the logo on the TV was the right way around, but I showed it to my brother and that was the first word he read and was then confused by the other text on the poster. Instead, I flipped the logo around so it is still recognisable, but it’s hard to read so your eyes focus first on the other words that give context. I think this poster doesn’t communicate space and location in an obvious way, but I think it works in the series of posters and completes the ‘house’ of posters and therefore the space as a whole.
1/4/20 – SECOND POSTER
The poster that I worked on today was based around the bedroom. The basis of this was the idea of university students being sent home and staying with their parents in their childhood bedrooms. I was inspired by iconography in children’s bedroom décor and illustrated a red, white and blue target with one of those race car beds. I was also inspired by the adventure holiday genre so came up with “An exciting adventure awaits… in your childhood bedroom.” It's clear now that my audience is young people sent home to stay with their parents, as it doesn’t really make sense to older audience members. I suppose that’s a flaw in my slogan and perhaps I should either continue with targeting this audience, it fits for my first and second slogan, or I should adapt the next ones to be more well rounded.
31/3/20 – FIRST POSTER
One thing that I touched on last week was my interest in the use of graphics and type to communicate the coronavirus. I was looking at the huge range of posters online posted by the NHS, available for businesses and public spaces to download and print and put up outside their establishment. I was thinking about how this could relate to my work that looks at location, culture and the essence of a space and thought about a specific genre of mid-century travel posters. What if I combined the context of the coronavirus and staying at home with posters that advertise elements of a space? For example, the posters often list elements about a place that makes it sound appealing, like waving a magic wand over the shitty bits. I do want my posters to still be quite dark though so I could advertise the shitty bits of staying at home but in a bright, exciting visual way, like travel posters. Therefore, today I designed my first poster, my intention is to design one every day this week so that I have a collection. I designed my poster using Procreate, which I find to be a really useful application because I can add textures that make the poster look as if it has been screen-printed, which if I had the tools right now if I were back in London, I probably would do. I really like the colour scheme I think it is bright, exciting and easy on the eye, and I also like the handwritten lettering. If I went back and work on it further, I think that the illustration needs more detail and focus, as it looks really untextured and it just feels unsuccessful to me. I am going to move on, but I will revisit this poster because I want it to communicate ‘the kitchen’ as being the space it is focussed on in a more successful way.
30/3/20 – ANIMATION OUTCOME
Today I finished the final animation that I was working on yesterday. In order to create a transition between the ‘scenes’ I layered over the silhouettes of the next sequence, into the previous frame a little bit. For the audio, after Anna mentioned that voice acting might be challenging for most people, and after I received back from very funny overacting audio files of my dad explaining his day like he was reading on CBeebies, I decided to just message people more directly from responses. I like the effect of it seeming like a telephone call. Phoning people is one of our only forms of communication now, seeing as we have to stay isolation and can’t meet up face to face, so it felt fitting. To enhance this, in between each significant piece of audio, I add a white noise effect of random pieces of talking from the recordings, so it seemed like there were a lot of phone calls going on at one, and a lot of voices all experiencing similar feelings in isolation. I also added the sound effect of a phone ringing at the beginning to enhance this. In terms of output method for this video, hypothetically, I think it would be interesting if projected perhaps outside the actual house, like a window to the life inside, even though the streets outside are empty and quiet. Or another idea I had, when it is safe and public spaces have opened up again, is to project on very old ruins of a building or castle as there are plenty of these in close proximity to where I life. I think this would be visually interesting and would communicate themes of time, abandonment, change and how so much of our life happens within a single building.
29/3/20 – DEVELOPING ANIMATION
Today I started to develop a final animation. After listening to the audio I gathered about being in isolation I decided to focus my ‘set’ on being the place that my family and I are isolated. I started by filming my self and my family in different rooms of my house, how we interact and how we live our lives in there when we can’t leave. I then took these videos and illustrated the silhouette using the same process. However, for the colour schemes, I decided to do the same transition of warm and cool tones, yet using colours that are found within the set of the room. I also requested audio files from a bigger range of people, asking them to explain their feelings and what they have been up to, are they bored, have they been productive etc. However, I got back very few responses. I think if I were to go up to people in real life they are more likely to respond as they can assess the tone of the situation, but if I want people to send audio files online they can be quite nervous or shy unless I provide loads of information about how I am using it. I found most of the responses I got were from CSM students as they understand how these projects generally go. I could also fake responses, and write a script and then ask close family and friends to say them. This would probably be more successful as when you ask people to be candid they often freeze up and don’t know what to do when put on the spot, and act quite unnaturally.
27/3/20 – ANIMATING A CROWD
I wanted to expand on my previous animation experiment by creating a crowd scene. I did this by having my mother walk around as I photographed her, exactly how I did with my brother. I then created a sequence, using bright warm and cool tones, and placed her in on the photos I took last week of a deserted playground. I repeated with the sequence but reverse and switched up the timing, so it created the illusion of lots of people moving around. I think this has an interesting visual effect but it’s quite obvious it’s the same person. Unfortunately, my brother was busy in an online lecture so maybe if I combined varying silhouettes it might create that sense of a crowd deserting a once bustling place more accurately. For the audio, I experimented with interview. I asked my peers on social media to send in an audio recording of what they have been doing in isolation, how they have been feeling etc. I then layered the audio responses to make it appear as if a whole crowd were talking, and then I made them fade out one by one, again to create the effect of people slowly deserting the city and going into isolation. However, after listening to the responses, I would like to take this animation further and look into sequences of movement within the place of isolation and see how my family move around the space we’re stuck in for the next 3 months and the patterns of colour and form. I would also like to expand on the interview aspect and get more specific sound bites. Instead of layering, I would like to take pieces of audio and create more of a narration.
26/3/20 – SHADOWS IN ROOM
Today I experimented once more using shadows and acetate, reflecting the silhouette of a woman sitting that I quickly drew in a black marker, however, it doesn’t quite have the effect of the animation, so I think I am going to continue exploring that. The room also has to be dark so it is hard to even understand what the setting is.
25/3/20 – ANIMATION EXPERIMENT
I started today by photographing my brother as he walked down the room. I made sure that he walked in the same direction as my chosen photograph to that the perspective is the same. These photo tests are the basis of my silhouette and are also really useful in understanding the way the human body moves, as well as scale and perspective. I then illustrated this photographic series and edited them into the photograph as a stop motion animation. In terms of colour scheme, I decided to start warm, as he is closer and get colder the further away, he is. I think the transition of colour makes the animation much more dynamic. This animation test was really useful in seeing how I could use the shadow of someone in a cleaner, more digital way to tell a simple narrative, which was a person leaving. I could develop this into a more complex narrative use this technique, combined with projection/shadows to communicate the self-isolation that everyone is taking part in right now, and how public spaces have been deserted. I added stock sound effects of footsteps in this animation however this could be developed into more complex audio or folly that contribute to the narrative and atmosphere in a more powerful way.
24/3/20 – ACETATE SHADOWS
Yesterday and today I started experimenting with shadow and silhouette, as I planned after looking into the research references of Stevenson, Eliasson and the Hiroshima shadows. I started by taking a photograph of a crowd that I took in Italy last year (as taking a fresh one is pretty much illegal right now) and outlining the silhouettes of people in various block colours. I selected deep muted tones as it looks a lot more subtle. I don’t want my colour scheme to be too garish as I think it is inappropriate for the tone of the work. Then based on those silhouettes I experimented with painting into the images. What I like about using paint is that is has a lot of texture, movement and ‘life’ to it, so I think it would create interesting shadows – especially if I apply it in a way that the outline isn’t entirely accurate and is quite rushed, it appears quite ghostly. I also experimented with painting onto acetate and layering that over the photograph, which is also think has an interesting effect, as it creates a separation between these symbols of life and the image/setting. I then experimented with using different light sources such as a candle or my phone torch, to reflect the shadow of the figure painted onto the acetate, into the image. One problem I had with this is that the images I printed are far too small (in an effort to preserve printer ink) and are also printed on very normal printer paper so there is a reflection of the light. I experimented with painting a sequence onto the acetate and again, I think this would work better simply if my photographic set was larger and a matte finish. Ultimately what I am trying to do is create a sequence of images or an animation of such out of literal shadows into an image. But I think a better way to explore this idea would be to either reflect these shadows into an actual room or to work digitally again, with these colour block representations of shadows, that way I can work more precisely with animation.
22/3/20 - OUTCOME
I completed my outcome today, pasting the photographs onto the structure. Using PVA was really successful for blending the pieces of paper together. I decided to go for a variety of sized images, in order to create more pf a frenzied effect, and a blur of memories. Although there are rough edges, as this outcome is made of cheap materials, I think it communicates a visual experience of a place. If I were to develop this outcome into more of an immersive experience for an audience, as this is small in scale, I would build a larger structure with screens, and photos of a location appearing and disappearing across the walls, like memories. This could connect to social media as well and allow the audience to upload images in real-time. In terms of my project, this does so much communicate isolation, however, it was a good practise into looking ways of communicating an experience of a specific location, and how that is individualised in the medium of photography. I would like to take better a better photo of this outcome, so I might see if I can get a large piece of white paper when the art shops open back up, as a clean backdrop.
21/3/20 – PHOTOGRAPHING THE CITY
Today I walked around the Tollcross area of Edinburgh, which is usually very busy with tourists and people visiting shops, offices, cinemas etc. But it was completely dead, as everyone is now staying inside quarantining themselves. I took some photographs of some of the empty streets and places that are previously packed with life, as well as the huge number of signs now put up outside shops and restaurants saying that they have closed until further notice because of the virus. I started to think about how I could use these images to communicate the sense of isolation and desolation in this community, and after some research, I thought about shadows. It would be interesting to explore the visual reference if shadows to communicate life that was once there, and that has imprinted itself in the essence of the place. I could explore this in a series of ways, my starting point, however, is going to be through literal illustration of shadows, and layering colour and shape to see what kind of effect it has. This could also easily translate into a piece of moving image and would be particularly impactful when combined with subject-specific audio. Perhaps I could interview people over the phone about their experiences in self-isolation. Even the audio nuances of a telephone call, like the ringing and the voice quality would add a lot to the overall communication of the work.
20/3/20 – DOCUMENTING DAYS
In response to the work of Lauren Stevenson, I briefly experimented with a way of documenting my days through illustration. I would sit after each day with my twin brother and we drew everything we did that day in isolation. I then experimented with outputting these drawings by projecting them in the space that I had spent most of my time. I realised though this didn’t really relate that much to my project, although maybe slightly in exploration of the significance of a space.
20/3/20 – BUILDING THE STRUCTURE
Today I started to build the structure out of mountboard. I measured a lot of the starting pieces, but then found a quicker way was to do a lot of tracing of parts. I don’t want it to be too perfect, as it needs to have that abstract, personal feel, like a fragmented memory. I used a hot glue gun as it holds the mount board really well, without being too permanent if I were to mess up, as I am not the most experienced with 3D design. Realistically it was also all I had, as most shops are starting to shut unless I want to order materials online and wait days for them to be delivered. Hot glue also leaves some unsightly bumps so I’m nervous for when I apply the paper if there will be loads of weird creases. Now I’m waiting to visit an office building that’s still open somewhere and ask to use their printer, so I can print off the images to be applied.
19/3/20 – ANALYSING PHOTOS
Today I got my photos I took in Bath sent digitally from being developed. I decided it wasn’t worth the cost getting them printed by the camera shop, as the paper, they use wouldn’t adhere well to the structure. Instead, I am going to print them on a cheaper, thinner paper that is more textured and doesn’t have a gloss finish. Naturally, some of the photos didn’t turn out great, but I quite like the personal quality to them, as they’ve really captured a moment in time. The photos taken on film are also more affected by natural light conditions and weather, so communicate the essence of the place in a more dimensional way. I also developed the design of the structure further and figured out the scale and measurements for some areas of the design (seen in sketchbook). I’ve decided to build the structure out of mountboard as it is cheap, strong, easy to cut and also textured, so it adheres well to paper.
17/3/20 – CORONA TIME!
So, I haven’t managed to get my photos developed yet, or designed my netting. My main priority in the last few days may or may not have been to rapidly escape London to avoid the global virus pandemic! I’m on my way back home to Edinburgh today where I will be continuing my work online. I need to think about how I will adjust my project in order to suit the current situation. It’s highly unlikely that I will be able to go to Dunmore, as we have been instructed to self-isolate and a lot of the flights have been cancelled. As soon as I am settled at home I think I will try to finish my work I started with Bath, then maybe I could explore the topic of isolated communities and population decline by documenting the empty city as people quarantine themselves, photographing empty streets, empty shelves in supermarkets and places that are normally thriving with people. I could also do phone interviews and keep some kind of video diary if instructed to stay inside. That said, I need to see how things play out, the crisis could get much worse I just know for now that I need to re-adjust my normal approach.
13/3/20 – BATH
After looking further into Geocaching I realised that it is quite an expensive process that takes weeks of time, research and problem solving and ultimately wouldn’t be something I could do in a day as I visit Bath. I had intended to go to Bath anyway to visit my twin and thought it would be a great opportunity to explore another location with a very small population. Bath isn’t necessarily isolated, so I decided to explore the ‘essence’ of the place instead and think about how I communicate a place through 3D work, like the work of Viviano and his suspended glass sculptures. Today I walked around Bath and took photos of the various details on a film camera. I decided to shoot it on film to give my images a more interesting look, I feel like photographs shot on film look and feel a lot more intimate and that now is a good time to experiment with different processes other than digital photography and filmmaking. My idea with these photos is that I could edit them into some sort of net, that builds up and abstract, a sculptural representation of my experience of a place – through these film images taken from my standing perspective, looking up at buildings. It would have been interesting to interview people about their experiences and maybe capture their perspective, however with the social distancing that was advised today, I was a bit uncomfortable with going up to a stranger that resided there and doing flash interviews. My next step is to get the photographs developed and to design the net and structure of what this 3D model will look like.
11/3/20 – PROGRESS TUTORIAL
This morning I had my progress tutorial with Anna, as she looked over my project work so far. In terms of the Barbican project, we discussed perhaps reshooting the video of it being shown in the Barbican so that it looks more visually appealing. Or at least to colour grade/edit the footage so that the details of the wall are more clear, the lighting is better and the unnecessary background footage is not as noticeable. For the Scotland project, we discussed which images were more successful and which would work well together in a publication and with which bits of text. We also talked about how I would present the work if it was printed, in terms of scale and framing. I think that these photos would be really successful in a large scale like an old portrait hung over a fireplace, with an ornate frame that contrasts the digital elements. We also talked about maybe doing another piece of fabric with a model of different age, in order to create some kind of series. I wasn’t able to use embroidery on my original piece of fabric but maybe if I could do it for another piece, in a different colour scheme but combining some of the original elements such as the stencil work? Finally, we talked about my next idea. I am interested in Geocaching and we thought maybe I could take textual/contextual elements that I find using Geocaching and apply them to a photographic/video outcome? Anna also reminded me to start thinking about audio, as this is something that I will be working within my Dunmore outcome so it would be valuable to start experimenting with that prior to my trip.
9/3/20 – PHOTOGRAPHIC OUTCOME
Today I did the photoshoot of my piece of tartan on a model. I chose May because of her long red hair and pale skin; she has a very authentic Celtic look that fits the context of the work appropriately. I decided to shoot the images in a white studio space and to add atmospheric set design in a digital way, to create a contrast between the traditional and the modern. In terms of styling, I had May leave her hair messy and natural. I then put her in a pair of black cargo trousers, to once again create the contrast of the modern. I really struggled with decided what top to put her in and went for another loudly patterned top built up with stripes. You can’t even see the top very well because of her thick hair, but it blends into the tartan more successfully in my opinion then a white t-shirt would. In post-production, I was inspired by traditional Scottish landscape and portrait paintings, and the atmosphere created with the stormy skies in the background. Using a cloud-like took in Procreate, and inspired by the colour palettes of these paintings, I illustrated a background into the image. I like the collage effect, it also doesn’t make the image too Hollywood period drama cliché like if I placed the model in an actual grey, natural setting. I’m happy with the images, you can see the details of the lettering and I think the place of the tartan communicates the message of not having a voice, especially in the vulnerable positions and facial expressions of the model. These images would work really well in a publication, especially if paired with more the raw text from the interviews.
7/3/20 – 8/3/20 – FINISHING THE TARTAN
This weekend I managed to finish the piece of tartan textile. I continued with more of the stamped lettering but decided to explore other outputs, for speed as well as to highlight the different tones of response. I did this firstly by making larger stencils by cutting letters (in the same typeface as the stamps) out of mountboard, and then painting in thick coats of red acrylic through the gaps. This created a raw and textured effect that adds a lot more dimension and interest to the textile. I then used heat transfer paper, to press in larger pieces of text. This was so much quicker than using the stamps. It doesn’t quite have the same texture and organic nature as the stamping process does, but it does add more interest and varied imagery to the fabric. I think now the tartan has enough information, texture and variation in order to be used for a successful photographic outcome.
6/3/20 – WORKING ON THE TARTAN
Today I began stamping letters onto the tartan. I started with a darker colour and stamped out the more opinionated ‘private’ answers. I then took white ink and went along the white thread with all of the ‘No’ answers in response to whether or Scotland has a voice. This was incredibly time-consuming. I was doing this all day yet I feel like I’ve made no progress at all. I need to come up with another method of applying text otherwise I will be stamping letters for days on end. I think the next method I am going to try is using heat transfer paper, and then I could also experiment with making stencils of larger letters for more public answers.
5/3/20 – QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS
In my crit today with Anna we discussed the idea of enhancing certain bits of text, as in our discussion we identified clear topics that were societally private versus public. We talked about make enhancing certain works with colour, scale or using a different method of applying text such as embroidery, or heat transfer paper. I also received back the questionnaire results today, I decided to do them in a formal way via email as well as on social media. This meant I hit a bracket of multiple age groups, with my responses, which is clear in the length and detail of the answers. There are definitely clear bits of information that would be considered ‘private’ and ‘public.’ Such as political opinions and personal anecdotes in comparison to saying that Scotland is “beautiful and has friendly people.”
5/3/20 - ANSWERS
4/3/20 - DRAPING TESTS
Today I conducted some draping tests of a piece of fabric to practise for my photographic outcomes. The more successful compositions of fabric are the ones with the head completely covered, and with the traditional placing of the sash. I don’t like the styling in these test shots, I don’t think that a t-shirt underneath with look very nice, so I need to consider how I style this with the fabric. I also need to consider the background. I don’t want to place it in nature for risk of the image looking too ‘Braveheart’ cliché, however, if I do use a white background, I need to consider depth. Perhaps I could take inspiration from the stormy skies in traditional Scottish portraiture and do some illustration in post.
2/3/20 - QUESTIONAIRE
2/3/20 – CRIT AND NEW PROJECT
This morning we had a crit for our Site project. We started in smaller groups and then a couple of us were selected to show our work in front of the whole class. This was helpful as it opened up a discussion about gentrification in London, it was interesting to hear other people’s point of view and it was also satisfying that they, therefore, understood the communication of my work. We agreed that the output would have been so much more effective if it was projected outside, however they liked the texture of the wall that I chose and the way that I place it in the bottom left corner so that it wasn’t so in your face and the audience could walk by. I think based on my feedback one thing that I need to think about it making sure that I am not in a situation where I am relying so heavily on tools to work, such as the generator. This causes so much unnecessary stress for me and the audience can tell that something didn’t go as planned. Or at least I should practise the output and test the tools to be sure that they will work on the day.
For our next project, we need to create an outcome based on a theme that we have explored. The theme in my previous project I would like to develop the concept of not having a voice when your surroundings are changing. Ultimately each week of my project I want to focus on a new location so that eventually I can put a publication together where each location is a chapter. Therefore, this week I would like to focus on Scotland, where I am from. People in Scotland generally have an attitude that our voice isn’t heard within the United Kingdom, it would be interesting to explore this idea by speaking to other Scots. Perhaps I could write some sort of questionnaire, or just a single question, and ask a range of age groups and classes for people living and from Scotland. I also want to expand on the technique of interview and factually give a voice to people who feel that their voice generally isn’t heard, in a visual way that pays tribute to the culture. A tangible piece of Scottish culture is tartan, perhaps I could use letter stamps and acrylic paint to press the answers into a piece of tartan fabric, it would create a nice texture which would make it stand out yet would also camouflage into the colour scheme.
I decided that the questions I would ask on the questionnaire are ‘Do you feel like you have a voice’ and ‘Do you think that Scotland has a voice?’ I wanted my audience to begin to think about their individual impact before they thought about their nation as a whole. I sent this out to a bunch of people tonight and am waiting for responses. I decided a quicker, yet less in-depth way of gathering responses was to also post the questions on my Instagram story. When I did this is thought of a couple of additional questions that may come in handy. I am still waiting for enough responses to come through for both of these.
29/2/20 – DISPLAYING MY WORK
Tonight, I showed my work in a space at the Barbican. Earlier on in the day, I had picked up a generator and a projector that I rented, and I brought them, along with my laptop to the Barbican. Before I went in, I tried the generator that I rented to power the laptop outside, and it didn’t work after trying for over an hour which was insanely frustrating. I walked around more of the Barbican that I hadn’t discovered in my other visits and found some perfect outdoor sites that would have been really successful if only the generator was working. I would do it again, however, the rental was expensive and until I get a refund, I don’t have the funds to rent a new one. To solve this problem, I walked around inside to find nice pieces of the blank wall situated next to a plug. The site that I originally found was in use by someone else, so I had to think on my feet. I found this wall on the library floor, with the original texture of the building. This turned out to be an interesting spot to show my work as, during the interval, a lot of the theatre attendees walked past during the setup and screening of my piece of moving image. It also speaks to the communication of the work, as the brutalist Barbican foundations originate from the era that these Hackney buildings come from, this one has turned into a cultural hub, whereas others have been left behind and neglected.
28/2/20 – GATHERING FOOTAGE
This morning I walked around various Hackney estate buildings that were mostly empty, abandoned, or generally neglected filming short clips to capture the atmosphere of the location. I had to be cautious, however, as I didn’t want to disrupt the privacy of people’s homes or disrespect them in general. I saw a lot more potential shots than what I actually got because I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries and appropriate their experience, as although I live in this area, I am privileged enough to live in student housing.
This afternoon I began the editing process, of putting the footage together and layering it with the map graphics that I have been practising this week. I played around with the colour of the footage, as I wanted to soften it to make it visible against the lines of the map, whilst also being visible and easy to understand. I decided to go with tinting the darkest tone of the footage in a colour scheme that I have seen used in the maps to identify different buildings. I kept the lightest tone white so not to make the footage too garish and overwhelming. This will stand out nicely against the walls of the Barbican but also flow nicely with the graphics. I found a font that was actually called ‘Hackney.’ I thought it would go nicely with the text I picked from the interview, articles and poetry as it looks official yet chipped and worn, which is fitting with the overall communication. Once I had edited these together I felt that the video needed another element, so I decided to add effects to make it look like it was shot on a VHS tape, and that it had to been damaged to the footage flickers in and out of focus. Again, I feel that this fits with the theme of neglect and being tossed aside/abandoned, as you might find a tape like this in a second-hand shop of some kind. Now that my piece of moving image is completed, the next step is production, and how I will output the footage into the Barbican. I have rented a generator for this weekend, so I should be able to plug in a projector outside, which is really exciting because it means I can point it at the staircase or wall and it will look so much more dynamic than being inside.
Later this evening I went back to the Barbican to get an idea of the audience when it was late enough in the day for it to be dark. It was a lot quieter, there was a very calm and civilised atmosphere. Most of the people there were people interested in culture, as they were attending a show at the theatre. There was also a couple of young people at the library, but outside was completely deserted. This is good for using a generator as it won’t be too noticed by people perhaps having a drink at the bar. I had a look at the scheduled events and on Sunday night when I intend on showing my work, there are no events held outside only a theatre event, so I won’t be bothering anyone. At the same time, it would have been interesting to gather audience reaction.
27/2/20 - SUNDERLAND INTERVIEW
27/2/20 – PROJECT TUTORIAL
Today I had a project tutorial with Anna and Michelle, where we discussed my ideas and my possible site options at the Barbican. We talked in more detail about the audience at the Barbican and how the people there are interested in culture and that a lot of them could also be tourists, so I should consider how my project communicates to them. I also need to think about whether or not my work camouflages into the space, or if it contrasts. Aesthetically the Barbican is similar to the images of the Hackney estates I am collecting, however, these flats are far more expensive and are to home to different kind of resident, rather than an economic migrant. There are also elements of gentrification in the fact that brutalist style estates are coming back in fashion, to the point that the original residents can no longer afford to live there. Walking around Hoxton I really notice that the trendiness of Shoreditch is creeping it’s way north, making affordable housing hard to find in a traditionally working-class immigrant community. In terms of communication, I should consider what I am trying to communicate specifically. Ultimately, I am trying to communicate the idea of urban abandonment and being left behind.
Today I also received back the interview results on living in Sunderland. It’s really interesting reading back the interviewee’s experience of a place that feels like it has nothing to offer, and how she describes the atmosphere as a result of this as being “dead” and as a “grubby bubble."
26/2/20 – VISITING THE BARBICAN
Today I visited the Barbican to look for potential sites to display a communication. I really like the idea of projecting a piece of moving image, because I think that it would be an effect pop of texture in the grey plaster surroundings of the courtyard, it would also be easily removable so I wouldn’t be disrupting the space too much and get in trouble. I came across a lot of good bare surfaces outside that would be perfect for projecting a piece of moving image, however outside there are no plugs, so I would have to bring a portable generator which would be expensive to buy. Inside there is a perfectly blank wall with a plug right next to it, it’s just not as dynamic as outside.
In terms of generating ideas for my communication, I like the idea of having a series of videos which capture the atmosphere of a desolate place, I captured some of these at the Barbican today and some at Archway yesterday, I would like to explore the Hackney housing crisis further and as I live there it would be a good opportunity to capture some footage there. It would be interesting to layer these videos with graphics inspired by the map system used in Hackney housing estates. The message of this would be well suited to the audience, as in the outside area it is mostly young academics and businesspeople smoking, eating at the café or simply enjoying the view of the water. However, I would have to do this in the evening so the projection shows up well, and I am unsure of what the audience would look like at night so I should go back at a later time in the day, to understand my demographics better.
I have found a series of good text sources from poetry and articles, documented in my research page, which I also think would be interesting to incorporate into my design. I am still waiting for the audio from my interview about housing estates in Sunderland, but that should also be really helpful for communicating the experience of living in a desolate place.
25/2/20 - ARCHWAY SITE PROJECT
Today we were briefed with the Site-Specific project at the Barbican. To prepare for this we were set a task to explore designing a communication within a practice space, more specifically, Archway station. To inspire this, we had to walk around and photograph areas of Archway that interested us. Because my project focuses on neglected communities and abandoned buildings, I was drawn to the closed Archway library by the station. I decided to think about aspects of neglected areas; chipped paint, dirt, dust, rubbish, broken objects. All of these things are the result of human interaction and excessive use, for example in the actual station so many people walk through it every day and that’s why it is dirty. This inspired me to think about neglect in the opposite way if there was no human interaction at all and space was left alone, with no rubbish, no pigment and no movement. This inspired me to think of the hypothetical idea involving a VR mask suspended outside the back entrance of Archway station, which when you put over your eyes you see a 3D rendering of your surroundings. I would design this to look like a detailed form of Archway, but completely silent and colourless. This would encourage the audience to think about their impact on a space, and to consider the damage, yet life and atmosphere that they bring to their surroundings. This test was really helpful in prompting me to think about my theme in a more expansive way.
24/2/20 - STARTING POINT
Today I started to explore various starting points for my project, through further research. One of my starting points is exploring Sunderland as a place victim to abandonment. This is because of my sister’s girlfriend, who is from there, who mentioned how rows and rows of houses are left derelict due to housing prices being increased and a lack of local resources such as doctor’s surgeries and shops. I have written a series of questions for her, to conduct an audio recording of her responses to take pieces of text from and apply to imagery. Another starting point is the use of poetry as a text source, such as William Yeats poems about rural Ireland. I am also interested in quantifying population decline in a physical way. I think for now I am going to focus on applying descriptive text, in order to communicate the mood/atmosphere of a location. One idea I had was to look at the maps used in council estates and marking off the buildings left empty and replacing them with other text. This would perhaps be interesting when combined with a variety of materials and layered images.
Questions to ask Jamie-Leigh Broad about Sunderland:
Is migration common in those raised in Sunderland? Why do you think that is?
Name 5 aspects of culture and tradition that you associate with Sunderland.
You mentioned before about abandoned buildings and homes, expand on that. Why are so many homes abandoned?
Describe in one sentence the atmosphere/mood of Sunderland.
Describe in one sentence the atmosphere/mood of Newcastle.
Name one positive aspect of life in Sunderland.
Name one negative aspect of life in Sunderland.
Council housing imagery
6/2/20 - PEER REVIEW
In today’s session, we began developing our project proposals. In order to successfully do this, we carried out two peer review questionaries, explaining our proposal to two different people and seeing if they understood each element. On my sheet, the responses are positive, in terms of the fact that they understand my project well. One area, however, is the intention, where one person wrote: “to show appreciation of culture in Ireland.” I would say that this isn’t totally accurate. My intention is more so to communicate the ways in which life and culture still exist in a dwindling community or rural location.
30/1/20 - LOOKING AT PAST BRIEFS
Today in groups we got together and thought about words we associated with each Part 2 project we had done, and dissected the subject, processes and aims of each brief. We then had to fill out sheets thinking about the positives of each project, and how we could develop them. At this stage, after thinking about what areas that stood out to me in each project, I am definitely leaning towards a project that combines elements of Interact, Self, Portrait and the Moving Body and Film and Moving Image.