Installation – Episodes 2 to 5

Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

The first day spent hanging at the gallery created a residual anxiety.  I enlisted the help of a friend for day two, which proved invaluable.

Much progress was made with spacing all of the concrete tables but also rehanging them on new wires and new hangers which created a  far more satisfactory practical and visual solution.  A laser level was applied throughout the day and this created an opportunity to perfect levels on the tablets, prints and projection mapping.

Three timelapse videos were made, the first – Episode Two – shows the rehanging of the tablets, thus;

The second – episode Three – the hanging of the cloth on the grey walls (from the hanging rail) for projection in the anti-space, projector testing and tuning using MiniMad Raspberry Pi controllers, then the rehanging (using Velcro applied to the rail and skirting board to create a tension and reduce the creases) and the final set up.

The third – Episode Four – illustrates the final hang and leveling of the concrete tablets and prints along with the installation of the spotlights.


Learning Points

Working in three media creates three sets of challenges with the install, each has to be tested, thought through and in many cases revised and solved.  This takes time and thus allowances have to be made.  Whilst complex the final solution actually looked relatively slick and simple, proving, for example, my belief that simplicity is manifest out of much refining and often complexity.

I had allowed ample time in the production and installation but had I been allowed only one day for installation that would have resulted in failure, without a doubt.  I estimate the ‘person hours’ on install to be a total of 22.


Final Preparation

photo-2018-06-15-09-55-32.jpgFigure 1

The clean-up, fig 1, was done on the launch day (14th June 2018) using micro-fibre gloves.

Before people arrived I shot a short film on the iPhone, see Episode 5 below. It opens with a view from the spiral stair down into the lower gallery space where I was pleased to be able to mount a concrete tablet onto the wall, reversed to show its texture (which proved a subsequent talking point to viewers)


Image Credits

All short films created via a Go-Pro type tripod mounted camera shooting every 20 seconds.

Fig 1, Helena Singleton







Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

Related image

I am quite familiar with writing and delivering speeches.  It is, from experience, unusual for launches of shows at Argentea for the artist to speak.  Yet I always value hearing the words of the creator of any work; it provides insight and analysis that may not be otherwise apparent, especially at an opening when there is little quiet time to read catalogue citations.  So I shall be delivering a speech.  Knowing that the audience will, all being well, be a mixture of people that are familiar with me along with those I have never met, I need to be friendly but not too informal.  I know too that there will be art and photography specialists and practitioners in the room, so the talk needs to be informative but as a counterpoint, not too esoteric, to avoid losing the wider audience.

The first draft is done and it is a blend of thank you’s, context, invitation and celebration. It may yet alter but it has been satisfying making a draft.

I shall rehearse it during Thursday morning, the day of the launch.

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 16.46.55Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 16.47.09screen-shot-2018-06-11-at-16-47-18.png



Title image accessed 11 6 2018

Opportunities Radar

Practice Development


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Figure 1

Whilst keeping very busy with the installation, I have an eye on future opportunities; whilst this, fig 1, appears to be a commercially based call for work, it has an intriguing theme which may be appropriate for my work in future.

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Figure 2

The timing was imperfect to apply for this role, fig 2, but it is a measure of opportunities that may arise in my local area and of course beyond.  The director of New Arts West Midlands is due to attend my show launch.

Finally, I have a meeting, during my show, with the principal of K4 Architects with whom I had a short residency with a view to picking up a longer relationship.



All accessed 11.6.2018

Venice biennale private call

New Arts West Midlands

K$ Architects



Installation – Episode One

Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5


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. 


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.


Figure 4


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.

Website Promotion

Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5


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Figure 1

The found objects, liberated from my shoots have been excluded in my final exhibition strategy and also my zine design.  It, therefore, appeared to be most opportune to create a new page on the practice website, fig 1, to complement the exhibition and support the pre-opening promotion, by pasting the new page link into my social media channels.

The website has also been updated on the ‘About’ page, fig 2.

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 12.07.47

Figure 2

Since publishing this, a course peer, Chris Northey has sent me a message which was a pleasure to receive, thus “Hmmm the way you choose to portray those found objects is a fascinating insight in itself…you have imbued them with far more narrative and character than they may initially have entombed in a vitrine perhaps
I think its safe to say I love that new page of your site”


Website link

Final Preparation

Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

img_3794-e1528392759206.jpgFigure 1

A short journal entry on this occasion.  There are two activities noted here.

The first was a moment of good fortune.  The parallel movies of 40 still images each, created and edited in iMovie and Madmapper were planned to be transferred to a MiniMad (Raspberry Pi based controller).  Yesterday (6.6.2018) I decided to ensure that this was all feasible.  I discovered that the MiniMad cannot dual-stream content.  Fortuitously, I had decided to import two MiniMads from Switzerland two weeks ago, with one to be used as a back-up.  I now need to save a movie on each of the two MiniMads and take my projector, fig 1, to the installation to use alongside the gallery’s kit.  There is an advantage, it means that two images can be larger when shown side by side as previously I was framing two landscape formatted images within one projector frame.  I have had two 4 sq m off white sheets ironed this week, purchased from the Birmingham rag market, to be pinned up on the walls of the gallery to lighten the background, thus overcoming the light absorption problem

The second activity has been a schedule of items to pack in readiness for the initial hanging on Saturday, 9th June, fig 2.  A multi-media show requires so many things to be listed.

IMG_3795Figure 2



Images, Philip Singleton, iPhone

Decision – Pricing

Installation : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 15.09.07

Figure 1

The decision to set the price of the work has come to a necessary conclusion and the documentation has been submitted to the gallery for the catalogue composition.

Numerous variables and conditions played out in my own cogitations and the gallerist’s conversations.  These include the apparent prevailing market for photographic prints which is a little dulled presently (this has been cited from three sources, thus moves beyond pure hearsay), the lessened investment state of the economy pre-‘Brexit’, the regional market (i.e. cities outside London with smaller, typically localised buyer markets), the preceding and current shows/pricing policy at Argentea gallery and the fact that I am effectively a student artist.  The counterpoint to these facts are that my work has been selling for the last year and there are value thresholds that are neither artistically or financially problematic to work below.

The prints are a more conventional commodity to value as I work on certified editions of three, (plus an artist’s proof) and use established printers that work with C-type printing and Kodak Endura papers.  I have sold at up to £600 for A1 prints, framed with museum glass.  The three framed prints have been set at £275 as prints only and £450 at A2 size, as framed for the show.  The ‘headline’ print, Roundhouse 1, has been remade as a dry mount onto 5mm Foamex board and a split baton hanger at 900 x 600mm.  As the principal image, this is offered at £325 as a print and £475 as displayed.

The concrete works are less conventional and have a cluster of intriguing characteristics, they are robust, yet have fragile edges, they are hung with bonded plywood batons, the printing is a ‘simple’ decal that is a hand-crafted process.  Each piece is unique given the nature of the concrete process and the ability of the decal ‘skin’ to crease and slightly distort.  But the uniqueness does not warrant a price that would sustain or reflect the merits as a single edition, especially given the ‘unknown’ nature of the buyer market for this type of work.  Instead, via a discussion, the gallerist and I have decided that each decal, regardless of size, will be in editions of 5.  There are 4 tablet size choices in a range £80, £90, £100 with A3 set at £175 as this is a more sensitised making process and will not be shown for display.  If a whole cluster is purchased (there are six in total) a 10% discount would be applied.

The projected images may attract a buyer’s attention individually or as a whole series and these will be sold via a discussion.

The gallery has applied a ‘mark-up’ that is less than the rate applied had it been more involved in curating and funding some of the material.

Two documents have been submitted to the gallery, fig 1, the final set of 25 images in total (21 concrete and 4 prints) and fig 2 is the pricing schedule including all related notes (gallery commision figure is redacted).

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Figure 2