Website Disaster Averted


During the Residency at Camberwell, the very morning of the group tutorial on the second day, my blog disappeared. It did not disappear entirely, it just looked as though I had never done anything on it: No posts, pages, images, nothing. It was as though I had never done anything other than choose the theme and put my name on it, in short installed WordPress and nothing more.

I did not panic because I had the latest export file with all the content and the images and other uploads in various files on the computer with backups. So I winged the tutorial by talking and describing alone, which seemed to work quite well. I had been momentarily transformed into a storyteller of sorts.

The residency is a busy time and I did not want to waste time trying to sort out the site, it would have to wait. I did manage to see that the site files were all in place. The assumption I made was that something had happened to the database. When I returned home, I contacted the host company and went through a series of checks and requests. The news was not good. In order to restore the database I had needed an SQL file of it. This I did not have and subsequently I have researched backing the database using MySQL software. I have only just started to look at this. It seems that in order to use it I need two more pieces of software. This will have to wait.

It seems what had happened was a vulnerable piece of code on a plugin called Theme Grill Demo Uploader. This plugin is associated with the theme I use but it really does nothing useful. What it does do is renders sites with it on vulnerable to attack from who knows where, two hundred thousand of them. The issue has since been resolved but too late for me.

I the meantime, I reinstalled WordPress on my host’s server. I experimented with some themes for a new look and purpose. I had previously spent a great deal of time researching and trying out different layouts and designs and had come to what I thought suited me best. No matter what I did, I kept on returning to the original theme, Radiate by Theme Grill.

I took a look at the export file which was apparently of no use to restore the site and decided to see how I could work with the coded content. I knew it contained all the posts, links, tags, categories, etc. I could input the information anew and restore all the work I have put into it. Here things started to look up. Not only were they coded and displayed in such a way that all I had to do was copy and paste into the code editor of WP, I have also started to refresh and learn about HTML. I am beginning to be able to read the code in HTML and know what each part does.

Finally, in a short time, I have regained all of my Unit 2 Assessment posts and pages with their metadata and begun Unit 1. It is actually very easy and I can tweak the design to improve the visuals. The theme is very similar to how it was but I have made some small changes, such as the background, which give me a sense of new beginnings and greater readability.

Now, I feel ready to recommence my delivery of the project proposal and all that entails including, as a priority, reorganising the studio so I have space enough to function in it.


Display: Stands and Supports

Recently I have been thinking about how the works can be displayed. I set myself a number of criteria which have informed my searches for solutions. These are as follows:

  • Transportability
  • easy of installation
  • efficient storage
  • conceptual compatibility with work
  • aesthetic compatibility with work
  • cost
  • ease of manufacture
  • Robustness and stability
  • Flexibility

The logistics of moving a whole show down to London, preferably in one trip has led me to some creative solutions. The nature of the work is such, that I have to plan the transport and installation in great detail and still allow for contingencies. This is why I have had the above criteria in mind all along. The feet are even adjustable to account for the uneven flooring in exhibition spaces.

The above image is a trial assemblage for a single piece. The articulated angles give me a sense of dynamism and transparency. The sculpture is able to ‘float’ and still be anchored against mishaps. The tubes can carry wires invisibly and the whole dismantles into a small bundle. I must, however, label and mark each point of attachment because the assembling process was a consuming battle with getting the whole perfectly verticle.

The galvanised finish is light although I could try treating the surface to darken it and give it a patina. I shall try some things out, but the scale of the works, and the spaces, I think that the grey metal is possibly the way to go: less obtrusive.

I have also been thinking of another solution. This is somewhat more laborious but it is perhaps more aesthetic, at least in a gallery setting. That is, to weld square section iron rods, perhaps even with angles joints made of square iron tubing.

The idea is particularly suitable in that the structures I build are strong, flexible in use, recyclable and, if used together, form a coherent aesthetic contrast with the sculptures. They can be combined with other materials such as wood, plastics, textiles and metal. The process is one of playful construction which leads me to think of other things: I have just made a table structure for the computer desk, so much better than trestles.

Subwoofers: To Port or To Seal

I pulled these out from storage a few days ago. They work well as subwoofers and also deliver on high frequencies. They need rehousing though; I do not like the shapes of the boxes and the black fabric coverings. Then there is the question of whether to port or seal the boxes. The speaker on the right is ported hence the difference in size and shape.

The functional difference between ported and sealed speakers is, the former type is louder and the latter delivers a higher fidelity. Seeing as I intend to use them in a gallery setting, sealed is the more appropriate option. This is fortunate because the calculations and design choices are simpler for the sealed speaker type. It is also smaller and the size tolerance is much greater. With a ported speaker, the measurements need to be much more precise because the airwave leaving the box needs to match the fundamental frequency of the monitor exactly if constructive interference is to amplify the membrane displacement and hence enhance volume.

The best material for cost and ease of construction is thick MDF which I can get cut accurately to size. For now, I am thinking of leaving the MDF bare and only sealing it for aesthetic and conceptual reasons. The speakers are what they are and to try to hide them would miss the point. They are sentinels of the sculpture, not just relayers of sound. Additionally, at the moment I feel that to paint them or cover them is to deny their real nature and contrast with the sculpture.

This web site gives all the information I need to construct the boxes and fit the subwoofers.

Speaker Box Enclosure Designer / Calculator

Use the Speaker Box Designer to determine the optimal volume for your enclosure.

A Place for Tags and Categories

It has taken me all this time to work out a useful function (for me) for these two classification criteria. This has been an important result of the blog curation process. Simply put, categories are very wide groupings similar to chapters in a book. They tell something of the area of interest but not its content. Tags can be likened to the contents section of a book. It is there where one searches for a particular term used, name, place, process, etc. Tags like content will list all the relevant words that I might find useful in the future if I wish to search for something. For example, if I want to look up a particular artist I have written about and cannot remember where to find it, I type the name and all the posts that contain that name will appear. There is an even more powerful function, and that is, if I want to refine the search because too many posts appear in the search, I can type two or more keywords, or tags. This will narrow the search results to only those posts that contain all those words. 

So far I have 1092 tags. This may seem a large number and no doubt will continue to increase. However, the number is of no consequence. It is only important if one wants the tag cloud plugin to say something useful. But the cloud plugins only deal with a small and limited number of tags. For this reason I have decided to remove the tag cloud widget from the side bar. As for categories, I have been able to cull them to be less confusing.