For field, I chose the Engineers of the Imagination 10 week option. I chose this option because the concept behind the project sounded fascinating and so broad that I could interpret it however I felt fit, and use my strengths.
The project began with a briefing of the project, the themes we were to work towards, and what we were to work to achieve at the end of the end of the first term.
Once we had an idea of what we should be aiming to achieve, we put ourselves into work groups that we would be working with for 3-4 weeks, in order to use a collaboration of all the subjects skills, and making an exhibition in a shop in the High Street Arcade in the city centre.
I joined a group with my friend Eliot from Graphics, and with Federico from Fine Arts. Our initial idea was to create an insulation, about childhood, innocence, and the joy of winter, christmas, and the things associated with this. We chose this, as we believe that there is so much negativity in the world, and with the theme of the exhibition being based about evil and joy, we knew there would be many deep and meaningful exhibition pieces about the issues of today, so we wanted to make sure there was a piece to bring a bit of light and joy to the exhibition.
We began thinking about creating a space, which you could enter and be submerged in the experience, we were thinking about making this space igloo shaped, but we then had to think how we could use the space to create our exhibition within, while being considerate of the other students. When we visited the shop, we knew we wanted the exhibition to be dimmed, in order to create the best effects so we thought we’d use the basement, however lots of people then came out and said they wanted to use the basement, so without seeing the space, we decided we would use the covered stair case, and have our exhibition at the top of the stairs.
The issue however arrived when we visited the space having changed our idea, and realised that the shape of the ‘snow globe/igloo’, wouldn’t work and that we would have to redesign our project to fit the space.
We thought of different ways we could change our designs o fit the space, including different shapes of the structure, moving the structure to another area, not using the stairs, and various others.
However after a discussion as a group we decided the best use of the space if we really wanted to use the stairs (which we did) was a square, making it essentially house shaped, but T-P styled, meaning using twigs and branches to create the structure and fabric to cover the roof, to make the structure feel more cosy, like a child’s den made out of blankets and chairs would feel. and then we wanted to use thick white paper on the sides to give it structure, as well as the thickness we would need to project the shadow tunnels onto.
Working with the idea of a den, we tried to make the structure as well as inside as cosy as possible, but it was key that it represented winter and the joy/childhood wonder associated with the festive season. When the structure was made, we put black paper all around the top of the stairs, and then Ash began making the stairs, starting with covering the sides in black fabric, and then making a star covered roof to the tunnel using card cut, with fairy lights underneath to create a magical quality. She then created a tunnel using a metallic material to hide the grunginess of the basement, but also keep in theme of the childhood magic and wonder.
After completing the structure, we got started on the experience once you were inside, we began by designing all the parts, we knew we were going to have three cut out acetate tunnels, created by myself, Eliot, and Jon. However this wouldn’t fill the space, and left the inside looking bare, and so we brainstormed what would give the right atmosphere. We decided on houses and trees made out of paper, and with windows and doors cut into the houses we could put fake LED candles inside to heighten the experience.
The houses were a simple design, so these were finished before all the tunnels and lights were purchased. We soon bought the lights for the houses, but we put of buying lights for the tunnels until last minute because we weren’t sure what lights would work best. In the end we went with all we could find.
The exhibition went on without an issue, ours being a lighthearted joyous exhibition amongst some very serious ones. However it has to be said that the finished product wasn’t as we imagined it would be. Although the interior was set out ideally, we chose the wrong lights, and we should have chosen a rained lamp that went through the centre of the tunnel and projected outwards, rather than the push lights that were at the bottom on the tunnels and projected the tunnels at a weird angle and distorted the cuts, so they didn’t have their desired effect.
Other than this, I believe the exhibition went without a hitch, and me and the rest of our team were extremely happy with the final outcome.
Below is a video I shot of part of the exhibition once it was all up and ready for the visitors to the shop. It is bit longer than I intended but I have not got the software to crop it on my laptop. There is also a 10 second crop of the main den.
Here are links to some of my group mates images taken throughout the creation of the exhibition, plus their images taken during the Opening.
Eliot Southwell’s Process Images
Eliot Southwell’s Final Images
Ashleigh Parson’s Process Images
Ashleigh Parson’s Final Images