On 28 May 2014, Ellena Simpson had expressed her concerns that we were running short of time with regard to the project and because we had our last assessment in the next few days and summer show, we were not making The Orangery Exhibition our priority. I advised Ellena that I would write up a plan of action and post on Facebook as follows:
1. Need TITLE for exhibition urgently so that poster and press release can be sent this week to Rebecca (at least she will have all info when she eventually responds)… I later suggested the titleSynaesthesia (the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body)
2. If Rebecca does not reply ref poster/press release, confirm if ok to go ahead with Edith and print a couple of posters (one could be placed in studio 11 for summer show). Poster printing costs £6-8each in creation. Also email Jake May in college marketing with press release.
3. Meet with Olly ASAP to sound record at Saltram and discuss other audio to be mixed in i.e. classical music – baroque? and possible recording of Janine Rook reading passage from Morley/Austin letters? Students met with Olly Wickes on 29 May 2014
4. Chase up insurance. Edith later received confirmation that we would not have to pay for additional insurance for equipment.
5. Make sound boards – these need to be designed, priced up and made – will not be able to use studio 11 but between us I think we have plenty of tools etc – sunny day building in garden it is!
The trip to Saltram was a very enjoyable experience and a great break from the city. This made me think about how Saltram House and its grounds affect the people who visit and how this could be incorporated into an exhibition.
With this in mind I looked on tripadvisor.co.uk to see the comments people had made. Here are two recent examples:
One of my favourite places to explore ,relax and enjoy. Views are beautiful and walks around to take at your leisure. Great to go as a family or to walk your dog’s. I personally like the bird life and cows close by . Well kept grounds grounds to see all for free. I like to end the day with a visit in the shop then a nice hot chocolate and cake in the cafe (Tripadvisor, 2013, online).
Beautiful gardens and a walkers paradise. We took our 5 year old twin grandchildren who thought it wonderful even though a little overwhelmed by the size of this magnificent house, that is part of the national trust. Home to the Parker family for nearly 300 years, the house with its original contents provides a fascinating insight into country-estate life throughout the centuries. Could not believe how many people visited this fine venue on a Tuesday afternoon but it seemed that all enjoyed themselves. Will recommend to everyone. (Tripadvisor, 2013, online).
I also thought that Saltram House would probably have a visitor book full of positive comments from visitors over the years.
This led me to think about an exhibition using text based pieces that would share people’s experiences of Saltram over the years and possibly centuries – as Saltram is, after all, a historic building with connections to literature – novelist Jane Austen no less and was also used in the filming of the 1995 period drama film Sense and Sensibility. I thought there would possibility be a wide and varied selection of text from visitors, novelists and actors about Saltram House.
As mentioned in a previous post, as the property is a listed building, picture fixings cannot be drilled into the walls of the orangery. An answer to this could be the use of large canvases which could lean against the walls around the room or vinyl lettering which could be removed following the end of the exhibition. Examples of this, that sprang to mind were Bob & Roberta Smith’s recent pieces at the art centre:
To make the exhibition more participatory, a visitor book, wipe board or blank canvas could also be displayed to allow visitors to add their own comments of Saltram to the exhibition. If this were to be the case, then a student would need to be present to prevent anyone from drawing anywhere other that the designated books/boards etc.
Another idea, would be to interview and record members of the public – young and old about their experience of Saltram, which could then be used as a sound piece. Several interviews could be played at the same time around the room to create a sense of ‘conversation’. As I am unsure of how the acoustics would travel in the building, students may have to experiment with acoustic boards – perhaps text could be incorporated into these boards.
This made me think of sound and video installation artist Imogen Stidworthy and her 2003 piece The Whisper Heard where she used curtains and a parabolic dish to control the acoustics:
I’m not sure how curtains or material could be hung without the use of screws but portable screens could be a possibility – similar to the ones used in our Studio 11 work space.
The window panes could also be potentially part of the exhibition as a way of advertising that there was an exhibition in that building, which would encourage people walking through the grounds to take a look.
This instantly made me think of Low Profile’s recent exhibition Against All Odds in 2013 at Exeter Phoenix where vinyl letters were placed on the window panes of the Phoenix:
I experimented with this idea briefly using the text “Dear Saltram, we love you” – which I felt would be an appropriate text to the exhibition idea:
I thought that the text would work better horizontally because the windows can be moved up and down, whereas if they were placed vertically, the letters may overlap as the windows move down in front of the fixed windows. I’m not sure how well this example would work, as it doesn’t seem very clear from a distance.
I will present and discuss my ideas with my fellow students tomorrow.