A Virtual Model

Installation Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

Argentea view draft 9 3 2018 sketchup

Figure 1

This is the virtual model of the lower level gallery at Argentea, fig 1.  This space was chosen as the light can be controlled by its subterranean condition.

I have created the model, in SketchUp, to deliberately imply the fact that the spaces are ‘carved’ of ground.

The cylinder denotes the spiral stair; this accesses the two primary spaces that will be used for my installation.  The two enclosed spaces are a toilet and store room.

I will use this model to create the layout in 3D as my installation plans develop.


Projection – Developing a Technique

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

In preparation for greater endeavours I have started using a demonstration version of Madmapper version 3.2.3 by GarageCube & 1024 Architecture along with a borrowed Optoma HD67 projector; this furthers my initial exploration.


figure 1

I am fascinated by the concept of light entering the camera, then being emitted to create a new image that is impacted by the form, texture and angle of the imposed surface.  Taking this further I will be searching out precedents and techniques in a wider forum.

The imposition of an image onto planes and details was the first task I set myself, applying it at home in my principal domestic space (figs 2,3); I intended the outcome to be familiarisation with the software and how it interfaced with the projector.  I had already spent several hours watching and applying learning from Madmapper tutorials and those provided by Wesley Buskirk on YouTube.


figures 2,3

Day One

These are the results from my first ‘after dark’ trial on 9th March 2018.  I was pleased with the clarity and brightness, that is to say, the image reproduction; there is an obvious ‘lining’ effect on the images when viewed close up (e.g. fig 4).  I used my Roundhouse (2017) image of an ‘heroically shot’ plastic chair (fig 4), as it had high contrast and very clear structure.  What fascinated was the visual intersect of the ribbed image and the slatted form of the wooden shutters, illustrating the marriage of imagery and form. Figure 5 shows an internal corner projection with the shadow of objects and the reflection from both walls of the image from the glass frames. 


figure 4


Figure 5

Day Two

Here are the 10th March 2018 trial images.  This evening was primarily focused on manipulating the dimensional forms of paired images onto walls at home with the projector deliberately aimed at an angle, to emulate the potential to show dual images in the gallery installation onto internal or external corners. This involved positioning the images on the screen (fig 6) and then manipulating the frame in real time to accord with the eye’s view of the projected image (fig 7).  I learned how to create plural images that appeared dimensionally ‘correct’.

IMG_1960 2IMG_1961

Figures 6, 7


Figures 7, 8

I also tested an abstract image shot in Amsterdam (2017) onto a corner to deliberately distort and further disrupt the image, figs 7, 8.  I created a ‘virtual’ 3D cube in the software and pasted 3 images onto the surfaces then projected these, figs 9,10.


Figures 9, 10

The potential for creating a video within the projection stream is initally tested here, fig 11.

Figure 11

Next Steps

1 I will purchase the full version of Madmapper software with a view to buying a MiniMad hardware companion.

2 I need to understand how I transfer an edited stream of images onto MiniMad, to then connect into and drive a projector.

3 Test the equipment at Argentea Gallery with a view to going the final piece.

4 Search out a building in which I can run a parallel projection project at larger scale, to test the transformational concept.

Shoot – The Pause Project – Jewellery Quarter 2, Birmingham

Practice Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

I was able to visit a fourth in the series of neighbouring buildings on 5th March.  The upper two floors of this building were accessed.

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figure 1

The first floor had clearly been a solarium, sauna and massage (fig 1) space.  The upper floor was an open space with heavily marked sheets of polythene that bore the marks of manufacturing, though it was not clear what.

The collage, fig 2 shows the images selected from my website.

figure 2



Zine Shape

Installation Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 16.29.00

figure 1

I set up a meeting with a friend who is a graphic designer and whose work I respect, to create a discussion about the further potential for a zine; its design, materiality, quantity, timing, content, cost, relationship with my gallery show and more.  This was not a case of mutually creating a brief, more a thinking session to sense-check potential.

There is a huge array of options in terms of format and consideration of paper waste, which really ought to be mastered.  We rehearsed standard paper sizes and the impact that has on page layouts and the mix of narrative with the visual.

Timing also is sensitive to an editing process, the drawing in of writings from other commentators and the gallery input, let alone distinguishing the visual content from that of the show.  The ability to discern and discriminate would come to the fore.

The most interesting part of the discussion was the potential to relate the zine to the Pause Project in terms of the interplay with materials, such as a building board to act as a back or front cover with an imprinted or cut image placed into it or through it – this could be the Fermata icon.  The pages, of various degrees of thickness and translucency, would then be hole-punched, collated and held together with a bolt fixing.  This led to the conclusion that a small number of hand-crafted objects would be a nice addition to the exhibition.  Each could be hand numbered as a very limited set.

To be continued…….

Some inspirational images, all accessed 8.3.2018

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figures 2, 3, 4, 5


Fig 1 http://www.bitbyzeus.com/zines/

Fig 2 https://shop.showstudio.com/products/zine/issue-1-aspirational-issue

Fig 3 https://shop.showstudio.com/products/zine/issue-1-aspirational-issue

Fig 4 http://situated.systems/experimental-zine/ 

Fig 5 http://shifter.media/creative-nate-matos-zines/


Map – a Deeper Proposition

Installation Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

In planning for my exhibition I am naturally running the development of a number of components in parallel.

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 07.36.30

Figure 1

One of these elements will be a map, fig 1, to demonstrate the coverage of the project since it started in 2016. This will be intended to assist the viewer by providing a local, but also pan-city, view of the practice. This thinking will be developed from a sketch-book map drafted late in 2017, fig 2, with my actual and planned shoots at that time.  These now total 13.


Figure 2

The contextual narrative will be important for the viewer, I thus intend to incorporate a map into a panel which will be wall mounted and relatively concise.  Here I cite a panel from Tate Modern in December 2017. Fig 3.


Figure 3

I am beginning to think of the map as one of the orientation mechanisms for the present, but also the past.  The Pause Project is about memory arguably more than the present, as the moment of image capture has often been the product of opportunity in the face of immense change or destruction.  Thus the collected images may provide the viewer with a social historical context.

Maps provide us with a graphical coding.  A map is to a scale, by this means it compresses and condenses a full scale, three-dimensional, spatial world into a navigable new context.

This caused me to commence an investigation into the distinction between a graphical form, such as a map and the visual inference of a photograph and whether the mind addresses these things in the same part of the brain or if this is distinct. I suspect this is the tip of a whole new iceberg!  Within this new thinking (for me) is the potential for a layered project, applying mapping, imagery and memory.  This goes beyond the MA studies into a whole new area of exploration, yet I will consider how the map can frame and assist in the memoriam.  At the very least a map will provide, in my installation, a spatial, ‘externalised’ content for the photographs which are typically internal and intimate views of place.

The launch of my wider, long-term research in this article and the link to a book authored by O’Keefe and Nadel (1978:1)  from which I extract this introductory passage “THIS book is concerned with three topics which, at first glance, do not appear to be related: (1) a part of the brain known as the hippocampus; (2) the psychological representation of space; (3) context-dependent memory. We shall argue that the hippocampus is the core of a neural memory system providing an objective spatial framework within which the items and events of an organism’s experience are located and interrelated.”

There is much to ponder!


Figure 1 – from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-29524842

Figures 2, 3, 4 Philip Singleton

O’Keefe J. and Nadel L. 1978. The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Gallery ‘Plinths’

Installation Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

Making progress with locution of the concrete tablets begins to provoke ideas for display of this series.  The display strategy will be to position the pieces so that they can be viewed but also touched.  The tactile invitation is to encourage the viewer to engage with the material properties, as if the surface of the building.  This removal of the preciousness that is usually evoked of the gallery can, perhaps, be encouraged by the manner and style of the display format.

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 15.13.43

Figure 1

Canto has his concrete work traditionally affixed to gallery walls, fig 1; my plan is to experiment with possibly one wall hanging, to interplay with any glazed, framed prints I may blend into the multi-media installation.  However, the criteria for the main tablet display will be a ‘table’ that is portable, noting that all exhibition components need to be taken down a spiral staircase into the lower gallery.  This portability has led me to link the construct of the display table to the design and building industry – the very source of all my visual practice.  I have thus considered a scaffold framed table to reflect the transient yet critical component of construction as one option, a search for imagery provides for one example, fig 2.  The second option is the use of a pair of builder’s trestles and a series of scaffold boards, for the same reason as option one, but notably is likely to be simpler to erect, fig 3.  Scaffold boards have a ‘hairy softwood’ material nature especially when new and this may provide an appealing contrast to the concrete tablets.

My next task is to check the dimensions of the spiral stair void to ensure the option chosen can be descended into the display space.  I also need to devise a method of securing the tablets to the ‘table top’ to avoid theft.

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figure 2

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figure 3

Image sources – all accessed 5.3.2018




Making Moulds

Installation Development : Final Major Project

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 5

My positioning of work using concrete, as previously set out, requires a refinement beyond my experiments in making paper imagery onto the liquid concrete.

Over three months of liaising and creating mutually with a small Birmingham based business, a brief to provide the right format and dimensions for concrete tablets of high quality was devised and has finally come to fruition.  The brief is set out in summary as a reference below.

I am now able to commence print transfer technique to craft fused concrete imagery.

This 12 step the pictorial journey summarises the step by step stages in this bespoke brief.

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fig 1 – laser cut plywood is used to make an oversize series of initial moulds.

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Fig 2 – a completed outer mould.

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Fig 3 – at this stage I have ordered 210x210mm, 297x210mm and 420×297

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Fig 4 – the smooth perspex ‘positives’ are placed within the ply boxes with a space around all four edges to allow for silicon to be poured into the sides.

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Fig 5 – the silicon polymers are mixed ready for pouring

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Fig 6 – the liquid silicon pour commences

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Fig 7 – the fourth mould is filled with liquid silicon pour, note the plywood mould is deeper than the perspex block to create the mould ‘back’.

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Fig 8 – the silicon had ‘dried’ and is peeled away from the positive

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Fig 9 – the silicon mould ready for use, note the smoothness of the surface

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Fig 10 – the quick-drying concrete is poured into a mould and left for the curing process

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Fig 11 two moulds poured and smoothed.

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Fig 12 – the first two concrete tablets to be drawn out of the silcion moulds.  This can be repeated many times.


The Breif ; Silicon Moulds for Concrete Tablets – 01/02/2018

Initial costings breakdown based on the work discussed in email trail;

General Info

297 or 210mm square ‘plate’ we can call them tablets as you suggested (flat) in perspex or similar at 15mm thickness (smooth finish). We have assumed this as the overall size, including any margins and the print size itself. 

These do NOT have any fixings or additional works. We can provide the plates with holes on each corner for fixing of your choice – the holes would need to be inset at least 20mm from the edge of the plate (check margins & print size before commencing work). 

This is really important…..I am now using the ‘good’ smooth face to ‘print’ onto – so that is an important decision.  Thus the ‘back’ of the tablets will the the ‘rougher’ side and the question is could you position a ‘dimple’ in each corner of the back (I realise this cannot be part of the silicon work) to give the anchor a chance to grip.  Inset 20mm or more is fine. I may hang some work so will resin anchor ‘d-rings’ onto the back – a bit like these …..

Fixings and finishings should be agreed before we start work. – see above – do ask me any queries about these

Silicone (material & casting): 

297 square – £55

210 square – £25

I am adding an A4 now too so 210x297mm

Plus, if you think it can be done, … an A3 297×420

Positive ‘plate’ and finishing (each)

15mm (overall) Perspex – £10

Noted and understood.

Bespoke mould tray (each)




We would anticipate 1.5hrs overall to produce a single mould (simple ‘plate’ as above) and the labour costs for this would be £25.

The silicone will take 24hrs to fully cure.



Initial casting is included, additional (concrete) charged at £7 each.

Note; concrete takes 2.5hrs to cure before de-moulding, and a further 2-3days (temperature dependent) to a dry-cure.

As a first run can I order;

2 x 297 sq

5 x 210 sq

5 x A4

1 x A3

I have not worked out the production timing, so let me know – see note below on timing

The fibrous aggregate/mesh sounds like a great idea.

Based on the above, overall costs would be;

297 sq.

Silicone – 55

Positive – 10

Mould Tray – 15

Labour –  25

1 casting (standard concrete) – 0

Total – £105

210 sq.

Silicone – 25

Positive – 10

Mould Tray – 15

Labour –  25

1 casting (standard concrete) – 0

Total – £75