Week 15: Final Touches

This is our final meet up as the assessment is due tomorrow.  On Friday the boys changed the orientation of the whole work, flipping it so that the paper came from a different corner.  They did this to try and fix the problem we have with the messiness the projector brings into the work by being on the floor, so they moved it to a wall to at least hide the power cords and put a sheet over the top.  The problem with this was that even though it helped with the projection issue, the table still looked very ugly and you could see the projector clearly under the table.  As well as this, the actual projection was right next to the table and so the audience couldn’t move around between the ‘book’ and the table.  We spoke to Jo and she agreed that it wasn’t as immersive orientated this way as it was before, so we decided to move it back.  Jo also suggested that we should try and make the window animate slightly to give the perception of time passing there.  We started with the setup while Sam and Sonny went to buy a few knickknacks to adorn the table with as well as white spray paint to colour them to match.  They found a few photo frames and small glasses which we painted white.  When we started to rearrange everything we decided that we would still have the projection issue, so we decided to try on of the electronic photo frames at the bottom of the paper.  It still had a power adapter, but it was much easier to disguise than the whole projector.  We decided that it actually looked quite good and related back the television that we used in the second week.

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We then spent a lot of time ironing the sheets to cover the furniture and making the paper trails while I tried to animate the photo.  I was going to try and change the sky and a few parts of the plant in the photo to look like they were moving.  I began by editing it in Photoshop and separating the layers.  I copied the section onto a new layer with each element and then opened it in After Effects, however because I had copied the element instead of cutting it, the background image remained the same so it didn’t work.  I went back into Photoshop, this time cutting the element onto a new layer, but I had further problems as the window had a very defining fly screen which made the selection process almost impossible.  It was very difficult to do and I wasn’t very optimistic as to how it would turn out when Chloe suggested that there was an app you could use on your phone that could add animated leaves, rain etcetera onto an image.  I looked it up and found a very basic application, which at first I declared useless as it cropped the photo into a square and watermarked the video and we were looking at falling leaves, but they were falling inside the window, not outside.  However, I realised that if I made the image very small in Photoshop and then opened it in the app we could still have it at the correct orientation and remove the watermark, which I did.  It still looked very ordinary so I decided to put a black image into the app and place the filter we liked – a light leak – over it and then I put the image and the video into Premiere and changed the opacity of the filter so that the effect overlaid the image.  I then had to play around with the cropping and mirror the image but it actually ended up looking quite good.  We put the video up and I had to play with the scale again after testing it, but eventually it looked quite good.

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We then set up the paper and the furniture, which went well and it looked good.  We had one left over cut-out sheet left so we decided to put it in one of the frames.  Steph then had the idea to put the cut out words into the other frame, which we did and they contrasted each other really well as we purposely used a black background.  We also installed another red light to brighten the scene.  Finally we just played around with the positioning of the furniture and decided what to do with the remaining words.  We eventually decided to drop the words on the floor as though they had been spilled, this caused us to think about smashing one of the glasses as though it had been knocked over in a hurry.  We broke the glass and arranged it on what would have been a coffee table next to a single lounge chair, it contained some of the works and the rest spilt down onto the floor.  I was worried that it just looked like a pile of paper, so we created another three miniature streams of paper that came out of the other slanted glass and went out to the wall.  The paper on the floor was then strewn out next to the table between the broken glass and the undamaged one, rather than being in the middle of the piece.  We decided that this was the final touch as we were all really happy with it!

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Week 14: Group Meet Up

This week we wanted to solidify as much as we could so we didn’t have a huge amount to do on Monday.  We began by setting everything up again, without the paper trail.  Sonny had created a poem from a story his grandfather told him about coming to Australia to use as our written story.  We came up with the concept of having the story on the paper to better showcase that the story was going from words to the actual physical room surrounding it.  We worked on this throughout the day, but eventually we came up with the concept of printing it on the stronger paper and then cutting out certain words from each sheet so that the paper was filled with missing words.  We wanted to use the cut-out words but we hadn’t deeded how to yet.  We also spoke to Glenn about how we should set up the projector for the typing video, he said that it couldn’t be mounted on the ceiling so we would have to have it on a tripod on the floor.  We put it to the left of the paper, hidden under a sheet-covered table, rather than in front or behind as we felt that it would disrupt the trail of paper or the position you should be in to read the projection.  The problem with this was that we had changed the orientation of the video, which turned out to be a very difficult problem to rectify as whenever I tried to change it, it would warp the footage and it wouldn’t look right.  I said I would work on it on the weekend and the boys were going to come in the following day to play around a bit more and finish the paper with the letters so they would ask Glen how he would fix it.

We just have to install/recreate the paper on Monday and set up everything properly and we should be done!

Study Recess: Supplementary Workshop

We decided to come in during the Study Recess to further improve our work.  Our main objectives for this week were to rearrange the furniture to maximise the space and make it more interactive as well as making sure the concept behind our work was clear.

We didn’t re-do the paper this week as we had to dismantle everything at the end of the lesson, but to make it more interactive and easier to move around, we are going to move the trail of paper out.  To link the paper and the room, I suggested that we should have a book at the bottom of floating paper and it could be a representation of the book pages we are exploring coming to life.  Chloe had the images of the window so we began installing a projector and working out how to arrange the furniture around where the projection would be.  We placed the door in the corner, with furniture on either side and in front of it.  The window then sat to the left of the door.  We thought it looked great, but was very big so we had to scale down the image so it was in proportion to the rest of the space.  I then edited the image so that it was only the window and its frame (as it had the wall on some sides of the images).  We also tried projecting an image of Chloe’s dining table to see what it would look like but unfortunately it just looked like an image on the wall rather than a portion of the space like the window.  We played around with different kinds of furniture including a single and double lounge chairs, but when we put them all together it felt like a lounge room that just didn’t suit the space.  We also tired hanging a plastic chair from the ceiling (which was shown to us as inspiration), it looked okay, but it didn’t really suit the message we were trying to portray and just felt a bit unnecessary.  We decided to use the door, the coffee table and the single double chair – but we’re meeting next week to finalise this.  At this stage we don’t have any screens, this wasn’t a definitive decision, but with the two projections it might not be necessary, but we may include one static television to add to the feeling of a deserted place with no reception.

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Rough production shot as we didn’t have a final presentation. The blue projection is where the window is located.

We then received feedback, which was basically that the message was good, but we needed to reinforce it a bit further as it wasn’t really clear.  The biggest question was what book we were going to use – which we hadn’t decided.  Chloe suggested that we could project something onto the pages at the bottom, and for today we could practice with the video we made in the first week.  We started to work on this to see what it would look like, Sonny and David starting researching what we could put on the pages, while the rest of us started setting up the other projector.  We set up a Qumi Projector but we couldn’t get it to work, so we decided to go back to a big projector.  Glenn has a device that is basically a miniature computer that we plugged into the projector to play the video, but the device hadn’t been updated in months and it didn’t have a video playing program so we had to wait for it to download and update.  It took such a long time that we had to pack up and uninstall in the meantime as we had run overtime, so there was no point in us waiting as we didn’t have anything to project onto.  Glenn said he would have it all ready for us and we will test it next week when we meet up (after the second years have presented their assessments).  We also will work on the text this week so we didn’t pick it in a hurry and it is the right choice for us.

Week 13: Presenting Your Work

This is the final week for our classes.  Our plan this week is to settle on a work we are happy with and then jam with that until the assessment is ready/due.  We were much happier with the work we produced last week so we wanted to build on that.  We decided to break up into smaller groups to get everything done.  David and Sonny were going to put together better videos for us to install in the assessment and were going to experiment with the smaller/frame-like screens.  Chloe had an idea that we should have flying/hanging paper coming out from the floor with the furniture surrounding it so she started creating that.  Steph, Sam and I cleaned up the area we were working in and then started jamming with the space, with the idea of having Chloe’s paper trail in the middle.  Sam found a door that we could use, we put a cardboard box on top of a plinth to try and disguise it and we used a small coffee table.  Chloe started to set up the paper so we then started to set up the lightning.  We put a red light to the right of the paper so it would cast a shadow on the wall.  We decided that it needed to be more vibrant so we put another red light up.  Once all the paper was up we decided to grab a yellow-toned light and close the barn doors so that it formed a thin line that ran from the bottom of the paper up.  We decided that we were going to remove the keyboard this week as it really didn’t have a purpose anymore.  We then added the screens into the installation and jammed a little bit more with the location of all the furniture and we then asked for feedback.

The general consensus was this was the most conceptual-filled work we had done thus far.  The main advice we received was that the furniture was very squished into the corner, so we should bring it out a bit more.  We were also told that it still didn’t really feel like a house, so we discussed projecting an environment onto the white sheets, but we quickly decided that that would be very difficult – particularly as everything has to line up perfectly, which takes a lot of time, and we have to uninstall the work so that the second years can install their assessment in before us.  We then discussed the idea of projecting a window in the empty space to the left of the exhibition.   Chloe said that she has an older-style home so she could photograph her window and we could use that.  We then asked if we could come in next week during the study recess and practice again, which we could, so we decided we would work on it next week.  Our plan is to include the window and concentrate on the placement of the furniture.  My biggest concern was that there wasn’t a huge connection between that pages and the installation, which I think was also reflected in the feedback we received.  Next week I think our main priority is to make sure that the link is clear between the two.

Week 12: Reviewing

This week we were told that we needed to spilt up and see what different outcomes each team could get from the same idea.  Before we did this, we sat down to work out our concept from fresh to find what we really wanted to do.  We had a long discussion before Sam came up with an idea, we could set up two projectors, one with an exploration on the treatment of refugees and one with an exploration of what can happen when refugees assimilate.  The treatment video would be attached to the ceiling, whilst the assimilation video would be playing from down below and when the audience entered the space, they would interrupt the video, blocking it.  Whilst this video wouldn’t be visible, the treatment video or ‘the past’ would continue to play as we cannot change the past.  We decided we could make these videos by remixing existing content.  To try and spilt up whilst still helping our overall goal, we broke up into teams – the treatment or ‘dystopian’ video, the assimilation or ‘utopian’ video and an audio track that would play over the two.

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We all began working separately on each section.  I was working on the ‘Utopian’ section, but after starting work, I realised that utopia isn’t really what we were trying to convey and we stripped it down a bit to just being more about acceptance, so I started looking at clips based on that.  I found a lot of clips that I thought Sam could use for the audio, but was having trouble actually finding clips that could portray what we were trying say.  We spoke to Jo and Nathan half way through and they were concerned that the projection idea might not be as effective as we thought so we decided, as we were running out of time, that we would go back into the gallery while we worked on the videos to see what we could come up with.

We pulled everything down from last week and started again.  Jo had been suggesting that we cover furniture with the sheets to imply that it was a home that had to be evacuated, but were hoping to return.  We started doing this and felt that with this new theme the presentation was finally complimenting the concept.  We then used televisions to play the treatment videos, as well as static, but we put them under a sheet too.  The effect created was quite interesting.  We placed the chair and table with the typewriter/television on top in front of the work.

We decided that moving forward, we needed to use more actual furniture rather that the plinths in the room.  The feedback we received was that potentially the videos could also include information about the family that lived there and that there should be longer pauses between the clips, so the televisions were flicking on and off.  We agreed with this and would like to build on it next week.

Week 11: On Jamming/Push and Pull

This week, we were told we should disagree with one another as this is an important part of collaboration.  After last week, we felt like we were overcomplicating the whole thing, so we tried to scrap the idea and try again from another angle – this was partially successful.

Chloe had the idea to make a ‘room’ out of sheets utilising the square framework of the ceiling.  We had issues at the beginning though, because the only available sheets we could find were too long or too short.  We compromised on the idea of 4 simple hanging sheets to use what we could find to see if our concept would work first.  We had the idea of using tulle to project onto/through because when you project on it, if it has been folded, it projects onto each layer.  We hung this diagonally from the top of the square.  Last week Jo told us that she thought we could make the space look like a home that had been abandoned, so I thought we could project a strobe light into the space and make the space feel like an empty building, being searched from above, by a helicopter.  We set up the strobe projection, added our original red light and then another.  We then inserted the television onto the floor in the space.   When we went inside after doing all this, it felt crowded, so we decided to strip it back.  We removed the red lights and inserted the typing letter from the previous weeks to give the television more of a purpose in the space – it was projected through the tulle and the television was placed beneath it.

 

Building the space took up the majority of the available time and by the time we presented, we realised we ended up focussing more on the space than the concept we were presenting again.  The main feedback we received was in line with this, whilst the space was interesting, it was lacking a real connection to the concept.  I suggested that we had had the thought that the space felt like a child’s safe haven and we were discussing placing everything at a child’s height, while the images of war would be placed higher up, however, this was a deviation from our original concept.  We also agreed that the sheets would be a very difficult medium to present on.  We decided that we need to go back to the beginning and work out what our concept really is at the heart of it all.  Jo suggested that our group was working so closely together that next week she thinks we should separate and present that same work, but from two smaller groups to see what variations we can find this way.  This is our aim for the following week.

Week 10: Presenting Your Work

With the feedback in mind from the previous week, we began making another iteration.  This week we started with the plan to include more stories into the work.  I had the idea to use the storybook, The Tin Pot General and the Old Iron Woman, which is a satirical take on the pointlessness of the Faulkland’s war.  This is another take on storytelling and I thought we could animate the cartoon characters and tell a story through animation.  Sam had the idea to take the projection off the paper, as there was feedback from the previous week that we weren’t using the true materiality of the paper, and instead we could write another story onto the paper.  Taking some of Mat’s feedback about using a completely different way of storytelling, like a Taylor Swift song, we decided to write the lyrics from Khe Sahn by Cold Chisel about returning home after the Vietnam War.  We then went to setting up, which took a little while to figure out.  On the back wall, we had a video of a narration of The Tin Pot General and the Old Iron Woman, which had images of the book and an effect that was of turning pages.  We wanted to put the projection on the corner of the wall, so it looked like there was a page on each wall, with the spine of the book in the middle, but the time constraints we had and sharing the ladder made it very difficult.  We decided to just get it up on the flat wall and see how it looked – and we liked it.  We put the typewriter/television in the centre facing the hanging paper, behind it was a plinth instead of a chair that had a projector underneath that was projecting onto the wall behind it.  The projection was the typing letter from the last iterations, which we had at a very small scale.

The feedback we received was that now there were too many stories and they didn’t work together well, so the space felt disjointed.  Jo suggested we play with the white sheets, that maybe the empty furniture could represent the home of a family who had fled and this is what they left behind – which I thought was similar to Don’t Follow The Wind, which was a work that explored the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the crisis at the nuclear power plant at Fukshima that cause residents to evacuate.  Mat suggested that we sit down and go through different letters with one another and see what concepts come out.