Tag Archives: Council House

Install 28 April 2014

On the day of the installation William Danby had arranged transport of the sculpture at 9.15am from Studio 11 to the Council House building.  We only had the van facilities for a limited time, but managed to fit the entire sculpture (in several sections) in one trip.

Day of Installation: Transportation of Sculpture. Photograph by Helanie Moore
Day of Installation: Transportation of Sculpture. Photograph by Helanie Moore

Lee McDonald traveled with William to the Council House to transport the sculpture.  I was the only other person with a car on the day so I dropped Jess Bent and Kath Howard with the wall pieces to the Council House from Studio 11 first.  I then, over several trips transported the plinths and smaller view-finding devices with Maddy Crossley and Sarah Hughes, as well as tools/paint etc which we required.

Will, Lee and Maddy set about putting the sculpture together and fortunately all of our preparation and measurements had paid off because the sections fitted together perfectly and created no obstruction to the lighting.  This was the first time we had actually seen the sculpture in one piece!

Install of Sculpture: Photo by Helanie Moore
Install of Sculpture: Photograph by Helanie Moore

Jess and Kath hung the wall pieces using wire, eyelet hooks and picture hooks that wouldn’t damage the wood panels.  Tony Davey expressed particular interest in the wall pieces and said that he may be interested in buying one.  Following a brief discussion with our tutor Edith Doove (also present during the install), she felt that we should look into charging for prints and whether we would be able to also produce framed prints if people showed an interest in purchasing them.  We later decided to charge £25 for limited edition prints and £35 for framed prints.  Kath Howard and Jess Bent took on the responsibility of recording orders.

3 of the installed wall pieces. Photograph by Helanie Moore
3 of the installed wall pieces. Photograph by Helanie Moore

Myself and Sarah prepared the plinths (filled gaps/sanded) and painted them over dust sheets to prevent any damage to the marble floor.  After consulting with Councillor Penberthy it was decided that we would not place rope between each plinth around the sculpture because a) it would prevent people interacting with the sculpture, b) the plinths marked out a square shape around the sculpture – an invisible barrier and c) the sculpture was very visible and it was unlikely that people would walk directly into it.

Preparing plinths for install. Photograph by Helanie Moore
Preparing plinths for install. Photograph by Helanie Moore

The whole installation did not take long and we were finished by the early afternoon.  As mentioned, we had tried to prepare for all eventualities which had put us in good stead.  It was a great sense of satisfaction and relief to have the artworks installed successfully and to see that the hard work had paid off.

Install of Sculpture. Photograph by Helanie Moore
Complete Installation. Photograph by Helanie Moore

Artist as Curator – Reflection on Curatorial Project: Plymouth City Council House

The Plymouth City Council House group exhibition was truly an artist as curator project.  In the early stages of this assignment we had initially wanted to borrow work from an artist and curate the space within the Council House foyer.(https://helaniemoore.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/council-house-building-ideas-discussion-with-student-peer-group-16012014/)  However, as our ideas developed we collaborated together with artist Lee McDonald to produce new original artworks specifically for the foyer space and the Council’s theme of The Future of Plymouthhttps://helaniemoore.wordpress.com/?s=sculpture

I was particularly drawn to this project as the space was not the typical gallery space one might expect and it presented a challenge in terms of the listed featured which could not be removed or changed.  I personally relished this opportunity because I have had experience of working in similar environments (in Local Government with Council Members) in the past in non-artistic roles and felt this was an excellent opportunity to connect my previous experience prior to my studies and my current knowledge of fine art and curatorial practices.

This was an exceptional assignment which our tutor Edith Doove had put us forward for and the group members including myself, William Danby, Kath Howard, Maddy Crossley, Jess Bent, Tiffany Smith and Sarah Hughes made it our priority to make this project a success.

During our studies we had been encouraged to attend gallery spaces and exhibitions that allowed us to network with fellow artists and curators.  By doing so, I met local artist Lee McDonald at the Plymouth College of Art’s Ephemeron, “Artist as Curator”, Critique Event at Karst in April 2013. (https://helaniemoore.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/lee-mcdonald-kinetic-artist/) This connection with Lee ultimately led to this collaborative exhibition The Future of Plymouth, 2014.

I saw my role during this project as the organizer, administrator and all-round helper and supporter to my fellow group peers.  My input and duties involved the following:

I also consider one of my roles in this group project as keeping the group’s morale up and encouraging everyone in their endevours during this project.  I think I took on quite a lot of responsibility during this project but was happy to do so as I am quite impatient and like to get things organised efficiently and effectively to produce the best possible outcome all round.

I enjoyed working on this group project and felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction on pride on completing this project.  I feel that all group members worked together fantastically and harmoniously.  I would say that my strengths during this project were in the administrative and organizational processes and this was balanced out by William Danby’s technical abilities with Maddy Crossley’s assistance, Kath Howard and Jess Bent’s production of the wall pieces/prints and blog and Sarah Hughes and Tiffany Smith’s input into the draft proposal, poster and finishing touches to the sculpture and plinths.  Lee McDonald was a joy to work with and remained extremely humble and a team-player throughout the project.

Although the artworks produced during this project were not necessarily something I would have undertaken on my own, I enjoyed assisting in realizing our curatorial and artistic vision for the Council House foyer.  As mentioned in earlier posts we wanted to create something that they had not seen in the space before. Previously, the artwork had been mainly wall-hung pieces, however we wanted to change the space and create a playful nature in the somewhat intimidating, official space.  We did this by thinking about audience participation and Lee McDonald was an obvious choice to work with because of his interactive work.

By accurately measuring the space, we prepared ourselves well for all eventualities with the sculpture and wall pieces fitting perfectly within the space without causing obstruction.

The feedback we received was excellent and I feel we that we achieved what we set out to do.

This project was one of the main highlights of the BA (Hon) Fine Art, Critical & Curatorial Practices course and I am delighted that I was part of it.  The line between artist and curator was undoubtedly blurred during this assignment and I savoured every moment.

 

 

Invite to Celebratory Reception

During the installation on 28 April 2014, Judith Robinson had mentioned that there would be a celebratory reception of the exhibition on Friday 9 May.  Therefore an e-vite had to be produced of which I volunteered to design based on similar text used in other Council House Art invites which Judith supplied.

Council House Art Invite designed by Helanie Moore
Council House Art Invite designed by Helanie Moore

I emailed this to Judith who approved the design and text:

Email to Judith Robinson re Invite. Image available from: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#apps/judith/145b29ed4769a66d
Email to Judith Robinson re Invite. Image available from: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#apps/judith/145b29ed4769a66d

I then went on to email students of Plymouth College of Art and asked our tutor Edith Doove if she could email the staff of PCA as well.  I also created a Facebook event page:

Facebook Event page for Council House event on Friday 9 May 2014. Image available at: https://www.facebook.com/events/237458499777442/
Facebook Event page for Council House event on Friday 9 May 2014. Image available at: https://www.facebook.com/events/237458499777442/

I could not be certain that everyone who had accepted the Facebook invite would RSVP as per invite, so I created a spreadsheet of all the names that RSVP’d and emailed it to museumevents@plymouth.gov.uk:

RSVP email to museumevents@plymouth.gov.uk. Image available at: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#apps/museumevents%40plymouth.gov.uk/145d182fef518520
RSVP email to museumevents@plymouth.gov.uk. Image available at: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#apps/museumevents%40plymouth.gov.uk/145d182fef518520

This list was used during the event by the Council House Security Staff as a sign in sheet.

Final Proposal & Risk Assessment

As mentioned in an earlier post (date) I had drafted up a proposal for the exhibition as a starting point.  Following input from fellow exhibition members during group meetings in March 2014 the proposal was updated  as follows:

COUNCIL HOUSE EXHIBITION

An artist as curator exhibition between the students of Plymouth College of Art’s third year BA (Hon) Fine Art, Critical & Curatorial Practices including Jess Bent, Maddy Crossley, William Danby, Sarah Hughes, Kath Howard, Helanie Moore and Tiffany Smith, in collaboration with local artist Lee McDonald.

TITLE

The Future of Plymouth

OBJECTIVE

The theme of this proposal has been inspired by the enthusiasm and ambition of recent years in developing the city of Plymouth into a cultural centre of exciting and innovative activity for residents and visitors alike.

This exhibition will focus on transition, change and looking forward toward the future. However, Plymouth is also a city rich in history and heritage, something of which the community is proud of and gives the city an enhanced and multi-faceted prominence.

“Study the past if you would define the future” – Confucius

With this in mind, the artwork to be placed within the Council House foyer will work toward demonstrating a futuristic, avant-garde quality while highlighting the traditional internal features of the 1950s building.

The main piece eight (2014) will be a sculptural viewing device [dimensions: 2.5m(L) x 1.5m(W) x 2m(H) approx.] to be placed within the centre of the foyer space. This will be a fully functioning sculpture that can rotate 360° allowing visitors to interact with the artwork. Through observing the space, we recognised that the foyer is a central hub that connects the surrounding rooms that affords a transitional quality. The sculpture will act as an intervention within the space – changing how one navigates through the foyer without causing obstruction.

We feel the audience participatory element is an important factor, giving the spectator an active rather than passive role, as well as a sense of empowerment and engagement. As artists as curators, we have also taken into account that the building is a formal space of serious nature and individuals visiting the building may have feelings of anxiety and trepidation. By placing an interactive piece within the space we hope to ease visitor concerns and give them back a sense of control and belonging, creating a positive impact on the audience.

The piece will be directed toward the engraved tablet commemorating the history of the reconstruction of the Plymouth. This will allow the viewer to consider the city’s historical nature, but also abstract what they are viewing. The sculpture will focus on certain parts of the tablet, mirroring and patterning the selected text by use of internal reflectors. This kaleidoscopic effect will act as a metaphor for Plymouth’s multi-faceted historical and contemporary magnitude and emphasise the importance of the city’s heritage in directing its progress.

The sculpture will be accompanied by 8 wall pieces [dimensions: 60cm x 60cm] comprised of digitally manipulated images of several of the listed features within the Council House Building. In line with the nature of the sculpture, these images have been abstracted using an 8-sided kaleidoscopic filter. The pieces evoke a sense of curiosity by obscuring some of the original characteristics of the space, including a section of the engraved commemorative tablet.

The works included in this exhibition are intended to represent Plymouth’s history as a platform in developing its future.

On March 25 2014 Jess drafted up a Risk Assessment for the exhibition:

Click here to view Risk Assessment

Jess Bent had also suggested asking the Council as to whether there would be a possibility of advertising the exhibition on the Big Screen in the Piazza.

Now that we had the final proposal and risk assessment drafted up, I sent an email to Judith Robinson with these documents attached on 2 April 2014 along with a jpeg file of the floor and wall plan I had drafted up for their information:

2 April email to Judith Robinson ref proposal and risk assessment. Image available from:https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#apps/judith+robinson/14521f929273b137
2 April email to Judith Robinson ref proposal and risk assessment. Image available from:https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#apps/judith+robinson/14521f929273b137
Floor and Wall plans drafted up by Helanie Moore and attached to above email
Floor and Wall plans drafted up by Helanie Moore and attached to above email

As mentioned in the email we also made inquiries regarding:

  • Date of installation
  • Dates exhibition open to the public
  • Transport of artwork
  • Advertising exhibition on Plymouth’s Piazza Big Screen

Proposal – draft

On Tuesday 4 March 2014, I was advised that our tutor wanted us to have a proposal for the Council in the next 2 weeks.  I decided to type up a very rough draft as a starting point as follows:

COUNCIL HOUSE EXHIBITION

An artist as curator exhibition between the students of Plymouth College of Art’s third year BA (Hon) Fine Art, Critical & Curatorial Practices including Jess Bent, Maddy Crossley, William Danby, Sarah Hughes, Kath Howard, Helanie Moore and Tiffany Smith, in collaboration with local artist Lee McDonald.

THEME

The Future of Plymouth […as outlined by Councillor Penberthy…but I’m sure we can choose our own title hopefully…]

OBJECTIVE

The inspiration behind this exhibition proposal has been motivated by the enthusiasm and ambition of recent years, in developing the city of Plymouth into a cultural centre of exciting and innovative activity for residents and visitors alike.

This exhibition will focus on transition, change and looking forward, toward the future.  However, Plymouth is a city rich in history and heritage, something of which the community is proud of and gives the city an enhanced and multi-faceted prominence. 

“Study the past if you would define the future” –

Confucius

With this in mind, the artwork to be placed within the Council House foyer, will work toward demonstrating a futuristic, avant-garde quality while highlighting the traditional internal features of the 1950s building.

The new works will be made by recycling materials to further emphasize the idea of promoting an environmentally friendly and sustainable future in Plymouth.

The first piece will be a vibrant […by this, I mean the colour – which still needs to be decided, as black may be a bit too formal…blue/orange?] sculptural viewing device […measurements…] to be placed within the centre of the foyer space […we need to visit Council Building to measure the central space to make sure of size and position…].  This will be a fully functioning sculpture that allows visitors to interact with the artwork […risk assessment will be needed…].  We feel the audience participatory element is an important factor, giving the spectator an active rather than passive role, as well as a sense of empowerment and engagement.  As artists as curators, we have also taken into account that the building is a formal space of serious nature and individuals visiting the building may have feelings of anxiety and trepidation.  By placing an interactive piece within the space, we hope to ease visitor concerns and give them back a sense of control and belonging, creating a positive impact on the audience.

The piece will be directed toward the engraved tablet commemorating the history of the reconstruction of the Plymouth […this is just an idea – the tablet is in the centre of the back wall between the two display cabinets…].  This will allow the viewer to consider the city’s historical nature, but also abstract what they are viewing. The sculpture will focus on certain parts of the tablet, multiplying and patterning [?] the selected text by use of internal reflectors [?].  This kaleidoscopic effect will act as a metaphor for Plymouth’s multi-faceted historical and contemporary magnitude, and emphasise the importance of the city’s heritage in developing its future.

06/03/2014 – Measuring central space of Council House

On Thursday 6 March 2014 myself, Kath Howard and Jess Bent visited the Council House to measure the central space to see how the viewfinder would fit in the space.

I later created some draft plans of how and where the sculpture could be placed:

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We had to consider how people would be able to move around the sculpture and therefore did not think that the viewfinder should be completely central – allowing movement between the sculpture and pillars (black rectangles on image above). There are also chairs and tables in the space and we deduced that the size of the viewfinder and foyer space would still allow for this.

We also discussed what we could place on the walls to compliment the sculpture.  Jess suggested displaying our sketches of the viewfinder i.e. our rough and more perfected sketches could be collaged together in frames on the walls surrounding the viewfinder.  I also suggested that we could take some close-up photos of the Council House features and put them through a photographic kaleidoscopic effect editor to create new abstract images of the features.  Kath took some photos and later posted the images she had edited on our facebook group page:

Kath Howard’s edited photographs of Council House features through 8-sided kaleidscope editing effect:

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The group all agreed that these images worked really well in abstracting the features and also added some visual curiousity for the viewer.

Change of direction: Kaleidoscopic Viewfinder

During our discussions on 14th February, Lee had mentioned the idea of creating a viewfinder which would focus on small sections of the Council House’s interior features.  After thinking about this further, I mentioned the idea of giving the viewfinder a kaleidoscopic effect to further abstract the Council House features and give the viewer a different way of looking at the space.

Screenshot of my suggestion of a kaleidoscopic viewfinder on Facebook Group Page. Image taken from: https://www.facebook.com/groups/590137997731082/
Screenshot of my suggestion of a kaleidoscopic viewfinder on Facebook Group Page. Image taken from: https://www.facebook.com/groups/590137997731082/

As the idea of cladding the walls was going to be too costly, we decided to concentrate on making a sculptural piece – namely the viewfinder and discussed this at a meeting in Studio 11 on Monday 3 March.

After looking at the plywood which was available at Studio 11, we felt we could utilize it to make some of the viewfinder and set to work in creating basic plans.

Sketch drawn by Lee McDonald & Will Danby
Sketch drawn by Lee McDonald & Will Danby. Image by W. Danby, 2014

Lee had mentioned that the cost of mirrors for the internal kaleidoscopic structure would be expensive, however Will suggested that we could use some reflective film which we had salvaged previously.

Will Danby sketched out some rough plans and we decided to create an 8 sided viewfinder to create an octagonal cone shape and we measured the plywood accordingly.

Will Danby's sketch of measurements
Will Danby’s sketch of measurements

We also discussed the colour and initially thought about black.  However, we felt that black may be too formal and might come across as a bit intimidating.  We had previously mentioned using blue to compliment Plymouth as the “Ocean City”.  Lee also suggested orange – as it would be something bright, colourful, unexpected and create a strong visual impact

Will later made a smaller scale mock-up of the cone and posted images on our facebook group page:

Small scale viewfinder mock-up by Will Danby
Small scale viewfinder mock-up by Will Danby. Image by W. Danby, 2014