DEGREE SHOW INSTALL
- setting up the greenhouse was fairly quick and simple with the help of my first year Josie
- I had some brief problems with the DVD because I had not encoded it properly, but this was easily fixed using adobe Encore, with the help of the DMC technicians
- I decided to use headphones with the TV rather than speakers, as I had originally planned, because of the ‘bleed’ from other video works in the space. The voiceover is quite soft and content-heavy, so being able to listen closely is important.
- I had not originally planned to add seating, but I think it is necessary considering the film is 10 minutes long. I bought some small metal stools rather than making traditional wooden exhibition seating, as they are not too bulky, easily moved and I think the metal form complements the frame structure of the greenhouse.
- I had planned to have more plants in the installation but due to budget constraints I could only use one. I think this is actually quite effective as it gives the installation a sparse feeling that is appropriate for the subject of the film. It also reminds me of waiting rooms, which complements the films themes of waiting and indefinite detention. This Cordyline Verde plant looks similar to some of the plants in the film:
SCREEN SHOTS – Yarl’s Wood (2016) video
The background footage was taken by me at the Yarl’s Wood site, the overlaid clip is from some documentary footage from 1957 that looked at the wind tunnels at the Royal Aeronautical Establishment (RAE) at Bedford, which is now the Twin Woods Business Park where Yarl’s Wood is situated. I think these clips go well together as they share a structural, architectural visual language.
I have been working on the script for the film for a few weeks, writing in short bursts and letting them ‘ferment’ for a bit and then coming back to them. I really enjoy writing, but I found this process quite difficult as it feels like an integral part of the film, and there is so much I want to say, but don’t want the piece to be too long. I also found it hard because I knew that I had to record myself reading the text and that if I wasn’t totally confident in the words I had written, the audience wouldn’t have confidence in what I was saying. I wanted to strike a balance between the poetic and the didactic, which I think I did well.
I did two sessions recording in the sound room. At first I felt self-conscious talking into the microphone, and it was strange hearing my voice played back, but you get used to it. I felt it was important for the voiceover to be read by a woman, perhaps because the majority of the detainees at Yarl’s Wood are female. I also feel a strong sense of ownership over the text, some of which is written in 1st person, so decided to read the voiceover myself.
During the recording I tried to speak in a slightly lower register than I normally do, to give the track a calm, almost monotonous feel that I think suits the serious tone of the film. I also noticed during the recording that I often drop the ‘t’s from the ends of words, so I made sure to emphasise my pronunciation so that the text is easy to follow.
I found it difficult to get the track loud enough. When I turned the gain on the microphone up really high, it recorded too many ‘mouth sounds’ and ambient sounds that I didn’t want on the track. Luckily when editing the film in premiere pro I was able to raise the volume of the track.
DEGREE SHOW INSTALLATION
Initial sketches for installation: a structure like a CCTV monitoring desk with multiple screens. I decided to have multiple images/clips within one screen rather than have many single channel monitors, as I think this is more appropriate for the style of the film and I can control the narrative more easily.
I decided to use a green plastic greenhouse as its colour and shape echo certain shots in the film. It also is in keeping with the themes of landscape, space, confinement, structures etc. Hopefully the TV will be surrounded by plants which will create an interesting tension between the natural and the man-made…freedom and confinement.
UPROOTED – plastic carrier bag with earth
These small sculptural works were exploring the idea of uprootedness, mobility and migration. I think its quite a strong image and would look good in a serial floor-based installation.
I really like the foil blanket as a material and its contrasting connotations; used at times of celebration – when finishing a marathon; and in times of emergency or illness. Migrants/refugees arriving in Europe are handed these blankets. I like the juxtaposition of these connotations with the visual elements that I think speak to the history of Minimalism and also Land Art – specifically Robert Smithson’s works with earth and mirrors.
hanging foil, suspended, fans, light, reflections, sea like.
OF THE SEA
I came across an open call for work responding to the theme ‘of the sea’, an upcoming exhibition at Art in the Dockyard in Kent.
“With this in mind, The Historic Dockyard Chatham invites artists to submit artworks which address any aspect of the rich British Maritime history of the Dockyard or any broader global concerns relating to recent social and political issues of the sea.” – from the above link.
I thought this would be a good opportunity considering my interest in socio-political issues of mobility and the ongoing refugee crisis. My initial idea is to create a small wall of sandbags, with each sand bag made from material printed with images of the sea.
This work addresses themes of borders and control, and is a metaphor for the fact that the sea is but one of many hurdles in the process of refuge-seeking. The image of the sandbag defence has connotations of war /battle and references the landscape of conflict that many refugees have come from, but also the sad fact that their arrival on foreign shores is not always met with open arms, but with conflict of another kind: unwelcoming political rhetoric and social views. I think the sandbag is also an interesting image in relation to climate change. Over Christmas 2015 news stories of terrible flooding in the north of England appeared every day, and images of communities; including migrants and refugees, working together, filling and stacking sandbags, symbolised solidarity in the face of adversity. Climate change is an important contemporary issue and contributes not only to rising sea levels and extreme weather, but also to the displacement of people whose homes and livelihoods become unsustainable.
My initial idea was to get some fabric digitally printed with images of the sea, but for a quick way to do some 3D experiments I have used a tropical shower curtain! I think this material is appropriate as a signifier of cheap, mass produced goods that feed Western consumer culture and global trade. I bought the curtain from Argos, where no doubt you could buy hundreds more, and there is a good chance it was produced in the far east (I could not find out where it comes from).
For my first prototype I cut a piece of the curtain to 50cm x 60cm and sewed two sides up to make a simple bag shape. I filled this with sand and tied it closed with wool, although I would prefer to use some blue rope.
I’m quite happy with this final version I submitted to Of The Sea, although I think it would benefit from being a bit taller, or perhaps in a square composition, as in one of my original sketches. Perhaps I will come back and add to it when I have more time and funds!
Experimenting with layout for printing using text from my writing (here: https://annabelduggleby.wordpress.com/my-writing/)
WORK FOR INTERIM
Images of the Interim Exhibition are in the PPD section.
When thinking of ways to display my endless text, I liked the idea of printing passages onto various materials: paper and fabrics of different weights and translucency. This an organza sample I ordered, which I think looks good but would be hard to read in a smaller type. The idea is to have the fabric printed texts hanging in front of each other to give a sense of the overlap and malleability of the text itself.
Quote by Slavoj Žižek: “Humankind should get ready to live in a more ‘plastic’ and nomadic way.”
This ‘plasticity’ and fluidity of form is what I want to create.