I find a transformer station, clamber atop and discover the 1.50 mtrs elevation (and my body’s ability to pull my self up) are joyous. I return and experiment:
- a collage double spied from the distance
- a white tracing paper blanket becomes 2 iterations of marking and recording needles, wind, rain, sun and sleet for 14+days leading up to mid-Winter (Trafodecken)
- a few other items mingle
I take the resulting blankets to a kitchen space, an analogue zoom background and earlier this week back to the site to explore their potential to act as installation screens and as objects in situ.
I also make the transformer and my movement the subject of a short video piece (two channel): Stromverteilen (Parcours).
It rests here for the time being. The video works as a piece, I can also see the blankets acting as an installation site which houses the two video channels. The on site installations struggle to work, even when the sun hits them right. They result in a few good photographs, but I don’t think it’s photographs that I am after. The idea of screen (and backlighting, either by the sun or striplighting) remains but is not yet realised. Eventually, after I gave up with cold hands and clouds, the sun hits the spot and I right at the end throw one blanket into the tree and it’s pretty, delicate with the branches tracing and catching the light. It’s also too random to worry about right now.
(initially I called the whole site, the transition between village and wood, Stromverteilen, started this padlet here, there are a number of other strands in this too, e.g. the faulty electricity wiring nearby, but I pause these right now and let them recede into the sketchbook material).
This post assembles four strands of works within this series, the video the most resolved, the others point towards key processes and the object status is still somewhat uncertain.
I present the four strands, some additional visual documentation and the present a series of observations to be taken forward and into Research.
Works in this series
At this point I tentatively propose:
- Stromverteilen (Parcours)
- Trafodecken (transformer blankets)
- Sorge/Strom [care/flow] (small scale processes and fluff originating within this process): https://close-open.net/2021/01/28/sorge-strom-as-part-of-stromverteilen/
- Originell/Verboten [original/forbidden] (talking around while standing on the transformer): https://close-open.net/2021/01/28/originell-verboten-as-part-of-stromverteilen/
This post contains the materials for 1. and 2., the two others are held in separate blog posts.
1. Stromverteilen (Parcours) as video work (probably two channel rather than this combined video. (see some earlier drafts as spart of the Moving Image workshop with Garry Clarkson in November/December).
2. Trafodecken: Key objects and insights from this process
Insights (also relevant for Research):
A series of observations of the recorded materials and the investigations over the process of making the blankets:
- The detailed marks that trace needles and rain (as well as some light) on the blankets, for some of the time I keep records as to what is marked when; over the duration the repetition of needles on top and underneath as well as of Copic ink dripped into any puddles are the most persistent features of both the blankets. The second blanket also is frottaged as soon as it is laid out: I use a thick soft graphite to trace the surface. I was eager to do this right away, but the first blanket proved too fascinating in its pristine surface to mark immediately, then I discovered that insects were moving on its surface, the rubbing would have harmed them.
For the eventually resulting object, the graphite blanket is stark and heavy, the one without much much lighter and translucent.
The wind and rain soften and weaken the paper, a thick 110gsm tracing paper, the first blanket process comes to an end when I realise the paper is disintegrating and tearing; I close the second process at the point that I leave the village for a week. Both blankets were laid out for a long fortnight leading up to mid-Winter.
I roll the first blanket up for about a week of high winds.
Both blankets pull apart in the middle and reveal a gap, right at the end of 2 I place some cyanotype underneath to print this opening.
I experiment with how I fix the paper on the short sides: I use light string, adjust, readjust.
- I go most days, often twice a day. For a large part of the process my work seems maintenance, care even: to check, adjust, tug in. The processes of intervening and tracing take a backseat. Many days I don’t add any marks apart from those to adjust and reposition the papers.
- I add a few other objects, sometimes stuff that accidentally has found its way onto the surface, sometimes objects I find on the way that seem relevant. I also a few times take print out from photographs of the process back to the site and place them, some get reworked, some get blown off and placed back in.
One process is a visual narrative (two photographs placed side-by-side), they stay for several weeks longer, eventually acquire some moss and at the point that they are blown off into the grass nearby, I take them home.
- I observe insects, larger ones, mainly smaller ones moving on top of the blankets and mingling with my marks. I records some of them with a handheld iphone, later with a tripod. I am fascinated by the movement they add to the cumulative marks. That I move frequently on top of the blankets too is a resonance, mirroring of the insects and joyful.
- Late, after the final documenting in late January I realise the most frequent images document the function of the blanket as peripheral vision and/or kaleidoscope; I photograph the flat top against the wooded background. It’s the spatial construction of this that interests me and that I document and arrange and trace.
In this, the process adds understanding to how space is constructed, how illusion is achieved and what the process yields for different viewpoints and plays with figure/ground and scale. It’s a similar process that I pursued in the staircase site and it speaks to my interests around utopian spaces, doors to elsewhere and the quotidian, small processes facilitating these.
Employing the blankets as screen is twofold here: a screen to acts as opaque background, as delimiter, but also a screen as translucent as employing shadow play and filtering the sunlight and objects to the back.
- The work around the transformer station is also a movement work, something I call for Research moving-with: The walk up to it, the ‘commute’ from one village side to the other, stepping away, stepping out on the meadow, and then the parcour of pulling myself up on to the station, of sitting, squatting and of jumping down. Furthermore, I have GPS mapping records of my first walk there and a number of subsequent ones. I wonder if this is a separate theme within this series.
These will be the lines of enquiry to pursue further (either within in BoW or to move them to Research). The question of scale for the blankets remains key: there is a sense that the blanket is both screen but also detail, possibly for the latter to be deconstructed and reassembled in book form or similar.