Installation – Episode One

Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

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Figure 1

The long anticipated moment had arrived.  Two cars with boxes, tools, papers, projectors, laptop and various other pieces of paraphernalia were despatch to Argentea Gallery for a half day spent in the basement with expanses of grey walls to commence what was planned as my particular multi-media strategy.

I set up a wide-angle Chinese ‘go-pro’ type camera on a tripod to capture the install using time-lapse.  Unfortunately, it ran out of battery power an hour before the session finished.  However, I created a short time-lapse video which can be viewed here.

What went well?

Despite my plan to locate the ‘hero’ image as the focal point alongside the three framed prints we (the gallerist and I), embarked on a discussion about the concrete tablets and the ‘breathing space’ required as we had decided that the planned tablet clusters would, given the array of hanging wires, be much less visually cluttered in rows of two, rather than the anticipated three to four.  Thus, more wall space would allow the concrete to work much more appropriately on the opposite wall.  This change to the plan actually resulted in a pleasing arrangement for the prints; we paired the two curvaceous images and positioned the orthogonal, fluorescent tube image onto the wall, slightly hidden by the column, allowing it to be ‘discovered’ by the perambulating visitor, figs 2, 3.  The hero print remained in its original place.

Figures 2, 3

What went badly?

Weeks of testing and revising the hanging techniques for the concrete tablets nevertheless did not anticipate, through lack of opportunity to test hang on the gallery wires, the challenges of final hanging.  The location of the hanging eyes meant that the hanging clips are visible above each piece, see lower left, fig 5.  The silver finish and indeed the wires were all more visible against the mid-grey finish to the walls, fig 3. 

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Figure 3

Given that the higher tablets tend to mask the clips, I lowered the hooks on a lower level tablet sample but, when hung, this leaned at 30-40 degrees which was entirely inappropriate.  We then attempted to close the gap between the tablets but this simply cramps the visual distinction between the tablets, fig 4 (noting that these tablets are not finally leveled, etc).  The gallery’s supply of wires ran out too so the last 6 tablets were not hung.

I have been able to order 30 simpler and less obtrusive clips which, provided we can source wires, will aid the appearance.

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Figure 4

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Figure 5

The time taken with the disruptive impact of the tablet hanging meant that the testing of projectors and related technology did not happen, along with the two large areas of fabric which needed to be suspended for projection. 

Throughout the preparation for the final project install, I have allowed time margins; in this instance, I can return to the gallery on Tuesday and part of Wednesday along with Thursday early afternoon for final preparation.  Thus, armed with additional wires and calmed nerves, I will return with a complex mixture of apprehension, alliance and anticipation.

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