A guide to setting up the installation with specific reference to the projected Camberwell College space. I think this guide is useful not only in demonstrating the resolved nature of the work but it also provides a curator’s guide for future shows and a useful point from which modifications could be made in the future.
Logistics and Packing
In the past, I have packed work to conservation level with custom made boxes. This facilitates storage and transport, allowing the stacking of cases. Although some works are robust enough to be just wrapped , What is the Difference (WITD) would need its own packing case.
This is clearly a matter of deciding once in the space. However, I have shown here possible arrangements in plan format.
The vitrine is made of acrylic sheets fitted loosely into a steel frame. The frame is made using straight and angle iron which are bolted together to form the fram into which the acrylic sheets are places. The sculptures sit on a hollow base which houses the audio equipment.
Each sculpture is hollow and has a means of inserting a speaker and wires. The audio equipment inside the forms is prepared before or after travelling in preparation for the instal.
Each sculpture has a speaker inside which is wired to a four-channel amplifier. This, in turn, is connected to an audio interface connected to a small NUC computer which controls the three-way channel using Reaper DAW software. By these means, each channel can be balanced with the others in situ in realtime to obtain the optimal listening conditions and adjusted to synchronise with one another. Once set up, the audio can be left running for the duration of the show and adjusted as needed. In order to do this, a screen needs to be connected which can then be removed once finished.
There are other means of doing this using Pure Data and a Raspberry Pi. This would be a useful system in cases where the work needs to be left running without expertise available to troubleshoot such as museums and commercial galleries. But since I would be present all the time at Camberwell, this solution is the one that presents fewest possibilities for technical hitches.
Logos is made of connecting parts and is around 4 metres long overall in length. This requires a robust and stable support. I did not want to place the sculpture on a plinth (although this is a possibility in some other context). The aim is to raise it to face level and having a sense of fragility without actually being unstable. I had considered suspension with wires but rejected the idea on account of the difficulty in keeping the joints stable and the problems that might be encountered in attaching the cables to stable supports in the gallery space.
I resolved this challenge by using small diameter piping and clamps, procuring a quantity to build a framework on which the sculpture could sit. Not having been able to finish the sculpture, I have not been able to design the support. However, I have experimented with the materials and found it capable of supporting large weights. By interlocking the pipes with clamps, the predesigned stable support can be built in situ.
The use of this material is also an aesthetic choice, constrasting with the porcelain and it would be used throughout the installation to support Enshrinement’s vitrine and WITD giving a unified, curated sense to the show.
The audio is divided in two parts: the low and high frequency elements.
The low-frequency soundtrack is fed into two subwoofers placed overlooking the sculpture as sentinels. They are connected to an amplifier which is connected to an Arduino controller. A media player feeds into the controller and the volume of the soundtrack is regulated by a proximity meter. Volume increases and decreases depending on how close or far the person is in relation to the sensor. The sensor is placed close to the ‘head’ of the sculpture.
The high sibilant voice emanating from within the sculpture and heard through the front opening is delivered through a speaker embedded inside the large front cavity. (The location of this speaker will affect the quality of the sound. So far, it has not been possible to experiment with this because of the consequences of the lockdown documented elsewhere in this journal.) The audio setup is simpler in that it comprises a media player and small, two channel amplifier.
Additional and Optional Proposals
An original idea was to hang transluscent material on either side of Logos and project shadows on the fabric. This idea is better suited to a space where light levels can be controlled.
Additional sensors could be added to the installation to respond to viewers approaching from other directions, particularly with respect to touch.
What is the Difference?
This is the simplest piece: there is no audio and is supported by a single pipe. I have made a porcelain stand through which the pipe would run and be anchored inside the sculpture’s cavity.
This is a series of porcelain pieces that reach out to the public to be handled thereby engaging people with the material and its making.
An audience activity could be organised whereby a person makes a piece, leaving their mark. This would be added to a collection in the gallery which would grow over the period of the show.