Tag Archives: Installation

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

Artist as Curator – Reflection on Studio Practice

During the last year, I have tried to find a balance between my studio artistic practice and my curatorial practice.  My knowledge of curatorial practices has grown significantly in recent months under the guidance of my tutor Edith Doove and I have done my utmost to develop my skills in this field – particularly with regard to my own arts practice.

In my most recent studio project I have tried to take an objective look at how my work is displayed to allow for wider audience interpretation.  Quite often I have had a tendency to produce somewhat personal and subjective work which perhaps can shut off members of the public. However, my aim is to make my work accessible to a wider demographic in terms of being able to relate or connect to the pieces.

Furthermore, the curatorial aspect has made me consider how small distractions and unnecessary clutter can change the context and meaning of the work.  With this in mind, I have tried to limit the amount of equipment used in my CURA300 project.  I wish to keep the work as simple as possible so that audience members can focus on just a view elements at one time without having a visual overload.  With my video installation I used a small projector and although I may have been wise to try to disguise it, it was much more preferable than a larger projector, laptop and speakers.  The room for my video installation is quite small, so it was important to limit the amount of objects placed within the space.  (https://helaniemoore.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/856/)

It had been suggested that I remove the door of the room and replace with a curtain to allow for easier access to the room.  I can appreciate this comment as I would want as many people as feasibly possibly to view my work during Plymouth College of Art’s Summer Show.  However, there are other video/sound works around me – one of which is particularly loud and may cause a significant distraction if I were to remove the door.  I will have to create a sign for the door to advise audience members to enter the room to view my work and close the door behind them to allow them to witness the film projection at its maximum potential (if the door is left open, the projected film is not as clear as there is too much light filtering into the room.

As mentioned in previous posts I arranged the school desk and chairs in a specific way to not only allow up to two audience members seating to view the film but also to give a sense of superiority toward the desk which is placed at an angle in the opposite corner.  I wanted the desk to take on a life of its own and also present a substitute for a child who may have been told to stand in the corner of the class after misbehaving. (https://helaniemoore.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/installation-preparation-set-up/).

Furthermore, the furniture was chosen specifically to create a sense of familiarity and recognition within the viewer, with the hope of evoking an involuntary memory.(https://helaniemoore.wordpress.com/category/studio-practices/research/marcel-proust/)

There are probably still things I would change if it were possible to do so with regard to the set-up of the work (i.e. remove electric sockets, paint out electric cables etc) but I am satisfied with the result.

I have found my studio artistic practice to be quite stressful at times but have enjoyed how the pieces have come together and are improved by considering how they are displayed and curated.  Overall, I have enjoyed the role of artist as curator and feel that each aspect has benefited the other and become one amalgamated practice as opposed to two.



Steven Paige, Moral Development, 2013

During our student visit to Bristol in  October 2013 we had visited Motorcade Flash Parade, BV Studios and saw the resulting exhibition of our tutor Steven Paige’s 8 week residency there.

The piece on display was called Moral Development, 2013 and included videos, projections, televisions, furniture and publications. The title and influence of this exhibition was taken from from “a re-enactment [1971] of the infamous Stanley Milgrim experiment [1961] on ‘obedience to authority figures’” (Outcasting, 2013).  The projected film in Paige’s work is a further re-enactment using the script of the experiment with an actor answering the questions and “the authoritative ‘voice’” is substituted by subtitles (Ibid).

I was particularly interested in this work in connection to my current CURA300 project.  In Paige’s exhibition he has used an educational film as his inspiration and further highlighted the educational properties in his use of objects.  By doing so, Paige has created an environment which may evoke feelings of familiarity within the audience.  There were several recognizable classroom style pieces within the exhibition – including the plywood tables, projector stand, desk, factual publications and desk lamp. In terms of phenomenology and perception – one could make connections to ideas of learning and knowledge by simply looking at the furniture – without first witnessing the projection.

Steven Paige, Moral Development, 2013. Photograph by Helanie Moore
Steven Paige, Moral Development, 2013. Photograph by Helanie Moore
photo 2 (1)
Desk, lamp and publications in Steven Paige, Moral Development, 2013. Photograph by Helanie Moore
Plywood projection stand in Steven Paige, Moral Development, 2013. Photograph by Helanie Moore
Plywood projection stand in Steven Paige, Moral Development, 2013. Photograph by Helanie Moore


In a similar vein to Paige’s exhibition, I also wanted to create a classroom environment or feeling by using recognizable furniture.  By doing so, I hoped the school desk and chair would create a sense of nostalgia and memory as well as complimenting the film I had produced and give the overall installation more context.


Outcasting, (2013). Screening / Totally Devoted. [online] Available at: http://www.outcasting.org/screening-totally-devoted/ [Accessed 5 Jun. 2014].


Meeting with Judith Robinson & Neil Wressell

Following my email to Judith Robinson from the group re the proposal and risk assessment, we received a reply on 14 April 2014 as follows:

14 April 2014 email reply from Judith Robinson. Image available from: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#apps/judith+robinson/14521f929273b137
14 April 2014 email reply from Judith Robinson. Image available from: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#apps/judith+robinson/14521f929273b137

There was quite a lot of aspects in Judith’s email – some of which could be easily answered.  However, as she was on leave until 22 April, we would not be able to discuss these queries until after she had returned.  This was particularly of concern to the group because her email mentioned that the install would be on 24 April and this would only leave us less than 2 days to rectify any issues. Fortunately our tutor Edith Doove contacted Judith to arrange a change of installation date to 28 April 2014 to give the group more time due to the studio being closed over the Easter break and our other assignment deadlines.  Furthermore Edith also arranged for Judith and Neil Wressell, Senior Conservator & Exhibitions Registrar at Plymouth City Council to visit Studio 11 on 22 April to discuss Judith’s email. During the meeting we covered the following points as per email:

1.  Please can you send us a diagram of the proposed sculpture, a list of materials, a wiring diagram and a weight estimate? :
Judith given plan (she couldnt open original attachment.
2. Please ensure that the electrics are PAT tested and that the work is sited adjacent to an electrical source. An electrical cover on a flex will not be sufficient in this space as the lighting is quite low and it is a mixed use space.
No electrics involved and measurements had already been taken (as per plan) to ensure the sculpture would not interfere with the lighting.
3. In terms of protecting the building, if you can provide a weight, we will then need to ascertain the load bearing capacity go the floor. A simple floor protection is probably advisable.
Adhesive carpet tiles were used on base of sculpture.
4. In terms of access for the sculpture, please ensure that you have walked the route with a tape measure and provide us with a plan of this. You will need to take account of width of doorways and height of light fittings etc as it is not a purpose built gallery space.
Measurements had already been taken of all the space including doorways and the sculpture would be delivered in sections to allow it to be easily transported through the building.
5. Barriers are mentioned on the risk assessment. Will you be supplying this or would you like us to supply, if we have enough available?  Please note that the standard distance for barriers is 80cms, so please can you check that there is enough space to accommodate this requirement.
We decided on Lee McDonald’s suggestion that we would create 4 plinths with smaller viewfinding devices on each.  These would be placed around the sculpture with stretch rope/wire attached between each plinth (Museum to provide this).
6. If the work is to be constructed on site, we will need the risk assessment to cover tools, methods etc.
Sculpture to be constructed on site: tools and materials include – drill, hammer, screwdriver, paint brushes, dust sheet, filler, palette knife.
7. Is the work kinetic? How will it be maintained? Are there elements that can be removed? Does it need to be turned on and off?
The work is of a kinetic nature but is manually moved as opposed to electronically motored and therefore does not need to be switched on and off.
It was also decided that the exhibition would be open to the public from 1.30pm-4pm every Friday and two group members would invigilate.
Judith and Neil seemed particularly intrigued by our sculpture which was still in pieces – so to speak but our plan seemed to give a better vision of how the piece would look once installed.  They also expressed their interest and pleasure in the wall pieces and could see that we had thought about the Council House space and the concept Th Future of Plymouth extremely well and were looking forward to seeing something different in the space.

Plymouth Arts Centre Internship: Exhibition Install

Although the install of Bob & Roberta Smith and Luke Fowler’s work took place on days I was not interning at the Arts Centre, I did however help with tidying up the walls and assisting with the lighting.

This involved walking around the gallery space with Caroline Mawdsley, Curator of Programmes and Vickie Fear, Programme Assistant and taking a note of any marks on the walls and skirting, that looked untidy and may distract from the work on display.

I then had to go around the space and paint over all the marks on the walls and mask off the floor to skirting  join, to make sure the painted skirting had a clean, sharp finish.  I also painted the posts used to rope off a section in the gallery (placed in front of Bob & Roberta Smith’s The Brown Report, 2012).

Although this may seem quite a simple task, it is nonetheless an important factor, as the artworks have to be displayed in the best possible way in the gallery space and any minor distractions can prevent the audience from getting the best experience of the work.  Furthermore,  the artists put their trust in the curator (Caroline Mawdsley in this instance) to display the work in a professional gallery environment and therefore, a ‘shoddy’ appearance would be unacceptable and would probably lead to the artist being less than enthusiastic about displaying their work in the gallery in the future.

I also briefly assisted Caroline and Vickie with the lighting for The Browne Report which involved making sure no shadow was cast when audience members stood in front of the piece.  As the piece is approximately 2m x 2m and was displayed on the ground floor wall and reaching up toward the first floor, extra lighting had to be placed from the 1st floor adjacent wall and shone toward the work.

Image of Bob & Roberta Smith’s Browne Report, 2012 installed at Plymouth ArtsCentre


Image of an example of the additional lighting on the adjacent upper wall to Bob & Roberta Smith’s Browne Report, 2012

Again, the lighting is also an important element of curating, as any shadow could distract from the work and the audience needs to be able to see/read the work clearly – particularly as it is such a large, text-based piece and in the Arts Centre the work could be seen from the ground floor as well as the first floor and therefore needed to be well lit.

Although I would have liked to have been more involved in the installation of the artworks, I am happy that I had the opportunity to help with some of the finishing touches.

Jeongmoon Choi, Explorer, 2013

Karst Exhibition Promotional Image of Jeongmoon Choi, Explorer, 2013. Available from http://www.karst-projects.org/

Jeongmoon Choi is a Korean installation artist based in Berlin. In her work she is known for using UV lighting and lengths of taut thread to create futuristic, maze-like environments in darkened spaces.

The exhibition Explorer opened on 3 October 2013 at Karst, Plymouth for private viewing and runs until 20 October 2013.

On entering the gallery space the viewer is immediately aware of the UV lighting – which not only lights up the lines of thread fixed at varying angles around the space but also because anything that is white is highlighted in the dark room i.e. items of clothing. This initial observation led to light-hearted conversations about the effects of the UV lighting on the audience members and perhaps distracted slightly from the work.

Viewers were also verbally told not to take photographs of the exhibition due to intellectual copyright and to delete any photographs which may have already been taken. This request was also slightly distracting and off-putting to some audience members, who may have been initially excited about what they were seeing and wished to share this experience. However, perhaps sharing photographs of the exhibition may have discouraged other members of the public from visiting the exhibition in person as they would have already seen the pictures and therefore felt no need to attend the exhibition.

On walking around the gallery space the viewer becomes aware of the parabolic curves created by the strategically place taut lines of string. The highlighted strings gave the optical illusion of static strobe lighting. However, the viewer had to bear in mind that this was not the case – that the lines were physical and would therefore the viewer would have to negotiate their way around the room – avoiding the strings.

The strings were positioned as such, that they created a matrix, where audience members would be divided at times, by these futuristic prisms of light, as they worked their way around the space.

Some audience members were also made aware that Choi – who was present at the opening, was anxious that some audience members were standing on some of the taped down threads on the floor and could potentially dislodge part of the work. This perhaps could be interpreted as the artist wishing to creative an interactive environment but controlling and limiting the experience. It may also seem confusing that the artist would worry about part of the work installed on the floor because it was sometimes difficult to avoid standing on the thread, when manoeuvring around the piece.

Having said this, the exhibition was a great transformation of space – filling the entire room with a labyrinth of UV lit string.

The title was therefore apt, as the viewer indeed became the ‘explorer’ – discovering this otherworldly environment.