Category Archives: Install

Installation Preparation & Set-up

My tutors had allowed me to use one of the small upstairs rooms in PCA’s Studio 11.  The room was quite small at approximately 2.5m by 1.85m, however I felt this would be adequate for my installation and would give a more intimate, secure environment and less intimidating than a large open space.

I decided to repaint all of the walls white because although the room would be unlit  (allowing the projected film to be easily viewed), it would still be light enough for the table and chairs to be visible.

I also filled and sanded any gaps, covered any unused plug sockets with masking tape and painted and cleaned off the ceiling tiles.  I was happy with the standard ceiling tiles being present because they were something you would possibly find in a classroom anyway.

There was a problem with the floor as there was a stain which kept reappearing after paint application.  I thought about possible ways to get around the stained floor – one of which was to put down a carpet.  The carpet would be the kind of cheap, rough, corded, primary coloured carpet one might find in a classroom.  I thought this would again help to set the mood of the installation in that the audience would hopefully recognize the type of carpet used and perceive it to being classroom/school related.

After pricing up carpet I realized that I would have to get a much larger amount than required because it came on a 4m roll and would prove more costly than anticipated.  Also, I considered whether the use of a brand new carpet would compliment the older desk and chairs.  I decided not to use carpet after all and instead painted the floor grey.  The grey floor worked well and gave a stone or concrete affect which I was happy with and reminded of visiting historical villages and estates where there would be small classrooms with old wooden furniture and cold stone flooring.

Morwellham Quay Historic Port Village, Image of classroom with stone flooring. Image available at: http://www.morwellham-quay.co.uk/index.php?route=product/category&path=91_81
Morwellham Quay Historic Port Village, Image of classroom with stone flooring. Image available at: http://www.morwellham-quay.co.uk/index.php?route=product/category&path=91_81

With regard to the desk and chairs, I placed the desk in the far left corner at an angle.  I didn’t want it to be typically forward facing as it would be in a classroom.  Instead, I wanted the desk to take on a sense of animism – to become a living soul so to speak even though it was an inanimate object.  The desk already had a sense of history and with its original scribbles and etchings from children over the last few decades (1950s desk). My view of the desk was that it had ‘lived’ through many childhood experiences and possibly held the secrets and stories of the children who had sat at this desk and placed their belongings inside.  I angled the desk in the corner to give a sense of vulnerability and thought this could be comparable to a child being asked to stand in the corner of the class after misbehaving.

The two school chairs were placed at the opposite wall/corner to the desk to allow for two audience members to sit and watch the film if they wished to do so.  The chairs seemed to be for older children, whereas the desk seemed to be for infants.  I felt this would work well, as it would again give the desk a sense of vulnerability when compared to the larger school chairs and the audience looking on.

Below is a rough plan I drew out to give an idea of how the room would be set up (drawn to scale).  As one can see, the electric socket was on the back wall.  I had to use grips to hold the white extension cable in place along the right-hand wall to the projector. The cable was slightly visible but not distracting, however the smaller cable of the projector was black and quite noticeable – I may paint this white for PCA’s summer show.

Basic plan of installation. Image by Helanie Moore
Basic plan of installation. Image by Helanie Moore

Projector/Projection

One of my peers William Danby had purchased a mini projector for his project.  It worked by projecting a smaller image/video than what a normal projector (or one that I would have had to borrow from PCA’s ERC) would project.  It also produced sound which would be clear enough for my own project.  Furthermore, it could use an SD card as opposed to linking a projector to a laptop.  I felt this would be perfect for my own project and decided to order one. The room that I was using for my film installation was only 2.5m x 1.85m in size.  I thought that the use of a mini projector would allow for less equipment and would not clog up the room with unnecessary speakers and/or laptop or distract from the school desk, chairs and film. I asked Ryan Curtis if he could make me a small projector shelf for the corner of the room behind the chairs.  Although he made it exactly how I wanted it, I could not get the angle right for the projected film to only cover the lid of the school desk.  William Danby suggested adding a bracket underneath the shelf.  This worked brilliantly and I managed to re-position the projected video toward the lid of the desk.

Film projection on to school desk lid. Image by Helanie Moore
Film projection on to school desk lid. Image by Helanie Moore
Mini Projector on bracket under shelf. Image by Helanie Moore
Mini Projector on bracket under shelf. Image by Helanie Moore

Although I probably didn’t need the shelf in the first place, it was not a distraction or offensive to my installation and the bracket was actually now attached to it.  I decided to keep the shelf for practicality reasons i.e. I could place the projector’s remote control on it and my business cards for PCA’s summer show – although I was not 100% sure I wanted this in my installation.

 

Installation Ideas – Objects – School Desk

When I first thought about this idea, I had originally wanted to make a film installation.  I thought about trying to make a large scale Newton’s Cradle which people would be able to move themselves and be part of the work and the film of the plimsolls etc would be projected toward it. However, I soon realized this would be extremely difficult task to undertake on my own. I then decided that I would simply produce a film piece which could be projected onto a white wall.  This did not sit well with me, as I enjoy using objects as well as film.  I felt that the use of physical elements would present more of an opportunity to evoke involuntary autobiographical memory within the viewer.

I started to think about my old school days and remembered the old wooden school desks with the lift-up lids.  After considering this further I thought that I could use the lid as a screen to project the film onto.  If I could remember these old desks, I was fairly certain that this would probably be a shared experience/memory with others.

Fortunately, I managed to source a school desk locally from ebay and I was extremely pleased with it.  As with most old school desks, there was doodles and marks etched into the wood.  I did not want to remove this as I felt it added to the authenticity, history and originality of the piece.  Furthermore, I find it quite interesting why people feel the need to make their mark on objects.

School desk. Image available at: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/School-Desk-1950-to-1960-/291118875157?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT&_trksid=p2047675.l2557&nma=true&si=pdEyMf60gdJAvOqHMg65ahfCsmA%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc
School desk. Image available at: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/School-Desk-1950-to-1960-/291118875157?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT&_trksid=p2047675.l2557&nma=true&si=pdEyMf60gdJAvOqHMg65ahfCsmA%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

Several months earlier, I had had a discussion with my tutor Edith Doove while undertaking my CURA301 project.  I was discussing scarification and Edith had mentioned a cathedral she had visited where tombs (from what I remember) had been etched into over the centuries with peoples names and dates (unfortunately I could not find an image to demonstrate this).  It would seem that mark making is humankind’s “defining language instinct” and a “fundamental human activity” (The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, 2013)  Perhaps we scribble as a child to work out the world around us – much like the early humans did while drawing their experiences on cave walls (Ibid). I also feel that to write one’s own name or mark (if too young or illiterate to write) could perhaps be a way of establishing your place within society or to reiterate a sense of recognition, belonging or self worth. I think these ideas work well as part of my project because I think that some children (or adults) can find it difficult to find their place within a peer group or society.  Adolescence can be a particularly confusing time in establishing who you really are as a person.

References:

The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, (2013). [online] Available at: http://www.crafts.org.uk/getdoc/53e3d471-fc78-4c59-a6cd-20bffd71029d/Make-a-Mark_exhibition-notes_DGC13-notes.aspx [Accessed 4 Jun. 2014].