Archive for the ‘Ideas for project outcome’ category

Update – nearing the end

July 12, 2010

So the MA degree (end of yr) show opens this week, which houses all the pathways including ourselves – Digital Arts. Our work was assessed last week and the external examiner was in today asking us about our experience of the course.

Now its all about those final tweaks for the private view tomorrow and the general opening until Saturday. We’ve all signed up for shifts of invigilating and I’ve used up some more of my holidays from work for this. And it leaves me with very little annual leave left for the rest of the yr. That’s a big shame but it was necessary. And then we have our results coming out on the 20th! It’s quite soon compared to how long students usually have to wait for their undergrad results or for A-levels or GCSE results. But even then I would rather know now than in a week and half’s time.

I’m also trying to mentally prepare myself for all sorts of outcomes. For example I am contemplating where my threshold for satisfaction in achievement is so that I can determine what marks I would need to achieve in order to be happy with my grade. But at the same time I don’t want to think about it at all in case I don’t get it and then feel really sad. Hmm but then again is it the marks that I should be happy about or the body of work? The work was definitely an achievement regardless of any one else’s opinion. I went for something quite ambitious and now that I think about it, I didn’t have to go all out but I did and I’m hoping that was perceived as a very strong point rather than a foolish or over-ambitious one. Only time will tell!!

On the up-side, I managed to get three prints ready in time for the show opening too. These were of photos taken in Unit2 and highlight the significance of my newly developed practice. I think they are worth some focus in their own right and have received a lot of positive feedback. Having taken that on board and with there being some spare wall space in the lighter room of the show I thought, why not?

Mounted A2 prints of photographs taken during project development

From left to right: Electric, Wave and Citylight all photographs taken during Unit2 development

The one on the far left is actually one I took last week – you might recognise it being similar to that in the previous post. I’m now very strongly contemplating ways in which to customise my Processing and OpenCV code in order to achieve coloured feed to project in order to create results similar to the images above. I think I might spend a couple of months after the MA just trying to improve the manipulation of lighting and adding in the element of colour. Simply by projecting my desktop screen  has created interesting reflections and shadows so it’s worth looking into for even better results.

Well I’d better be off – tomorrow is an early start. I’m now aiming to just look forward to the Private view where good friends and practitioners who I’ve come to know through the project will make for good company.

Special edition catalogues – in collaboration with Susan Mortimer

June 29, 2010

Some weeks ago I randomly got into conversation with fellow final yr (online) student Susan Mortimer who, as mentioned in a previous post, puts together and hand makes the Mail Art One zine. Susan also makes one-off special edition books/catalogues showcasing work by solo artists. So I suggested that it would be really cool if we one day used my mirror card cut-outs as covers for special edition books featuring some of my work from the MA.

And lovely and kind as Susan is, she said why not?, let’s do it now (instead of some time in the future which is what I was thinking). Obviously I was going to jump at the chance and thought wow if she’s willing to try it then I am soo game and therefore I set about ordering specific double-sided mirror card for this mini project.

Black and white versions of special edition books - collaboration: Sara Choudhrey and Susan Mortimer

Black and white versions of special edition books - collaboration: Hand-cut covers by Sara Choudhrey and printing and binding by Susan Mortimer

The books are a mini showcase of some of the images from my experimentation through the MA project so far. I chose 10 images which I think some of the key visual elements of my work and added a few coloured samples to give some variation to the black and white theme. I think they work well together in the book and I asked Susan to arrange an order that she thought would suit them best (it’s hard to see your work objectively when you’ve been concentrating on it for so long). She did a great job.

Browsing through the book

Browsing through the book

I hand-cut a few of the sheets using pat7 (the pattern used for all aspects of the final piece) and arranged it so that the 10-point star would be in the middle of the front and the back.

White version with full front and back cutting

White version with full front and back cutting

Black version with half cut cover

Black version with half-cut cover

I slightly altered the symmetry towards the spine too to make it fit appropriately. These sheets were then sent to Susan so she could test the binding and this morning I had the pleasure of receiving the proofs to look at.

Black and white versions of the books

Black and white versions of the books

I actually can’t decide which one I like best. We originally had the black one all black (even the middle section with the star in black too), but then this evening I thought I’d see how it looked with that cut out too and I quite liked it. And this is something I can do once Susan has finished the printing and binding on her side.

Susan has posted about her side of the process here: http://susanmort.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/u2-collaboration-with-sara/

Images of the books taken by Susan - capturing the shadows and reflections produced by the double-sided mirror card cut-out

Images of the books taken by Susan - capturing the shadows and reflections produced by the double-sided mirror card cut-out

We’ve just got a few more tweaks to do and then I’ll have around 20 of these special editions. I’m even contemplating having a couple on a plinth in the light room of the MADA (MA Digital Arts) exhibition space, but I’m going to leave this as an option if time permits rather than a must. Also, need to ask the others if there is space for it …

I now just need to get on with cutting the rest of the 20 covers! I may need a two-week long hand massage once I’m done.

DIY and needing bolts.

June 26, 2010

So I’ve decided to keep my metal ‘sculpture’ really simple. This is for several reasons, the main being that I cannot afford to ruin the cutting by trying to experiment with other shapes at this stage. It cost way too much to get a new one.

So its going to be the pattern cut sheet in a nice big curve coming outwards towards the user, attached to the blank sheet behind which also curves with the sheet but has a bit of a gap in between which is where I’m hoping the best of the light effects will work.This is in keeping with the last few prototypes that I’ve done. At the moment I have the right curve achieved with the aid of a huge plant pot (lol I know it’s random but it worked a treat).

Shaping metal sheet

Shaping the metal sheet with a huge plant pot

I’m not going to remove the protective film until right at the end of everything though, so that there’s less chance of it being scratched.

Now to get the curve right and to come out the way I want – like half a cylinder protruding from the pattern sheet, I need to secure and bolt down the points at which the curve goes from flat to curved. This is key to retaining the shape. But finding the right bolts has been a real pain. There are loads of huge bulky, cut head ones that are really long, however, what I really need is something nice and short, with a smooth head. The metal is very thin (0.7mm) so even times two it won’t need a huge bulky bolt.

I need something a bit like this:

Ludwig coach bolt from Drumshack site: http://www.drumshack.co.uk/uploads/images_products/989.jpg

Also, as the metal is not as shiny as I wanted (it’s not mirror shine) I am contemplating using a sheet of mirror card as the back panel. I still have enough of the huge roll I bought a few months ago. It’s lovely stuff and has exactly the right reflectivity (as has been proved by my proto-typing). But I will need to stick it to something more solid in order to prevent it from flopping around. So I might use the blank sheet metal for this purpose. A bit of a waste of its original purpose but now that I have it I might as well use it. It still has the protective film on one side. So if i spray some adhesive on that side, stick straight onto the film then it should be ok.

The other alternative is to cover the mounting wall with the mirror card and then screw the metal directly into the wall over that area. But this will mean a risk in getting the mirror card to curve correctly in proportion to the pattern sheet.

I think I might need to wait until I get the sheets into the space before making the final decision on this. But the thought of it not being done is making me feel really uncomfortable. I hate not having things done.

It’s unbelievable the number of things you have to think about in installing for a space that isn’t your own to do with what you will. We’ll need to make sure all the walls are prepared, and then put them back to the same condition they were originally. This is fair enough. So I need to make sure I don’t drill too many holes. Or remember to polyfil them afterwards if I do.

There’s also my plinth to finish. I got the MDF from B&Q in the end as every time I got back from work the shop down the end of the road was already closed. However, B&Q had quite a good deal on with the MDF, about 2440mm x 1500mm for £16. I was going to get the 12mm (thickness) as that had been recommended by the 3D resource technicians. But the ones in the store were quite damaged so I went for the 18mm instead. It is heavier but I think the added weight will be to my advantage in making the plinth more stable and harder to knock over or even lift and run off with (partial fear of security there).

So with my handy diagram and calculations in hand I asked the guy at B&Q to cut up the sheet to the panel sizes I needed.They have this awesome machine that cuts the huge sheet down when you put in the exact numbers. Imagine how much time is saved with the use of technology everyday? It’s brilliant.

Cutting MDF at B&Q

Cutting MDF at B&Q

I’ve chosen to make the plinth 40cm x 45cm. So not quite a square but wider at the front and back. I’ve also measured out where I’d like the MDF pattern cut panel to go on the front. I’m aiming to have the big 10-point star right in the middle. But this will also depend on where the projector will go inside the plinth. I need it’s exact measurements to place the shelf inside in the right place. I would never have imagined how technical a plinth could get.

The pieces that will eventually be my plinth

The pieces that will eventually be my plinth

So I was planning to paint my panels with this paint I bought from B&Q too (becoming a regular there) which says you only need to use one coat, where usually you would have to apply a primer coat before the final paint.

One coat paint to use on Plinth - gloss based so hoping for a nice finish

One coat paint to use on Plinth - gloss based so hoping for a nice finish

But I realised I should actually cut the wood parts out before I paint them. So once again I need to wait for Monday which is when I can go to a local joinery store who can do some routing and cutting for me. This will save me having to drive the plinth back and forth from uni which would take an hour anyway.

I spent some time this morning marking out exactly where it would need to be cut. This includes more holes for ventilation towards the top of each of the side panels, and cutting down the shelf pieces which originally were going to fill the whole of the inside space but now I want to leave room along the back (closer to the back door panel) for the wires to have enough room.

Markings for cutting holes from MDF

Markings for cutting holes from MDF

Area to be routed from front panel

Area to be routed from front panel

The above image shows part of the rectangle that I’m planning to cut away from the front panel of the plinth to place the lasercut pattern MDF from last week.

So now it’s a matter of waiting till Monday morning which is when I’ll get the final cutting done, paint the MDF which according to the paint pot should be dry within a maximum of 2 hrs and then, get it all put together by driving all parts to uni and begging for help from the technicians.

More MDF cut

June 16, 2010

So I finally got the MDF cut with the laser machine at college. It looks really nice, and for some reason I really like the smell of the burnt edges. It’s been a few hours and it still smells quite strong.

I also really like all the offcuts – they looked so cool when I pulled the whole main sheet away, and the shapes formed the pattern as they were still in place. I didn’t think to take a picture of them at that point and now wish I had. It would take ages to arrange them in formation again. But if I did it would make for a very interesting art piece me thinks.

Laser cutting machine

Laser cutting machine

Machine has finished cutting

Machine has finished cutting

Managed to get a shot of some pieces still in place

Managed to get a shot of some pieces still in place

The final cut mdf

The final cut MDF (3mm)

Two downsides are that firstly at this scale I can notice some inaccuracies in the pattern. Some of the shapes are wider apart than others. It slightly bugs me knowing this although I doubt the average person would notice it unless they looked really hard or if it was pointed out to them. Secondly the MDF sheet was slightly smaller than we thought so the edge of the tile was cut off.

All in all it’s still pretty impressive. I want to use it for the front of my plinth, if I can, but I’ve realised I may need to re-design the way I’m planning to make the plinth.

Originally I was going to just have solid panels to make all four sides but if I use this cut out then it needs to be attached to a strong and stable frame which has legs going all the way up the sides allowing the inside to be hollow and the holes to help ventilation of the hardware concealed inside.

Things are quite mad for me at the moment. There are a lot of family commitments coming too. And I just don’t have enough hours in the day to commit to the project as I would like.

Oh well, better just get on with it and finish that essay!

OpenCV with external camera – check

June 9, 2010

I’ve managed to get the external camera working with Processing and OpenCV on my mac. I thought it would be more difficult as I tried it about a month or so ago and it didn’t work. Oh well, it works now so I don’t care. I hope it just carries on working right up to the end of the show.

This image shows that the ‘index’ needs to be changed to indicate which camera input to work with when there is more than one available:

Screenshot from Processing interface indicating parameters

Screenshot from Processing interface indicating parameters

So this is one thing ticked off my To Do list.

I’ve also now been booked onto a slot for using the laser machine next week. If all goes to plan I’ll have a nice panel to use for my plinth which should then match with my sculpture as the same pattern will be cut into it. That way there is some correlation between the two and will be easier to identify that they are part of the same installation.

I’m also slightly concerned about how heavy the sculpture will be. It is meant to be wall mounted but the brackets I am thinking of using may not hold it up. Not to mention screwing the front (pattern cut) panel to the back (blank) panel.

I’ve just been reading that if drilling, a fixed or lathe drill is best for metal. For aluminium a fast speed rate but slow feed rate is best. Which means that the drill bit should be spinning really fast but should be pushing down through the material relatively slowly (I think). Handy info on drilling can be found here: http://www.diyfaq.org.uk/powertools/drillfaq.htm

Ideally it would be good to do this at the 3D resource center but then I’d have to leave the parts there through the week and won’t be able to do anything in between the Wednesdays. Not really an option.

There’s a DIY type shop at the corner of my road. I think I’ll pop in there to ask them what kind of stuff they can do. They might even be able to cut all my plinth parts for me and then I can assemble those at home and hopefully (if my car is fixed in time) drive it to uni when needed.  When it comes to this stuff I haven’t really got much experience. I’ve only ever really put some flat-packed wardrobes up. They came out well and are still standing so it’s a good sign I say. Oh and theres the random wood works I did when in school – that was fun. But back then it didn’t matter so much if things didn’t line up all that straight.

I’m also going to have a rifle through some of last year’s show plinths at uni. There might be something that can be recycled.

I think I should sleep now, I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be another looong day.

At a standstill and not in Istanbul

June 5, 2010

I went in to uni last Wednesday for our show meeting. We made some progressive decisions about catalogues (Susan Mortimer, online student, will be making these for us in the style of her MAil Art Zines ), postcards (Jean-Baptiste Di Marco, Erasmus student, has designed us a very nice logo and followed through by creating a Digital Arts branding for posters and postcards, etc), space available and space needed.

Ina (full-timer), has been the most useful person to have on board this year. She’s been very thorough, getting all the info in and making sure everyone is getting their info, payments, images, copy, etc to her. Shes been documenting the process of getting the show up and running on her blog and lol I just read she’s having nightmares about the show. Ina – at least you’re not having Daymares!

Yeh Daymares, that’s what I’m having. And every now and then I’ll have a mini panic attack when I remember something I have forgotten needs doing. Because I keep forgetting things, when I DO remember something it feels like a bit of a miracle. I’ve been told that my forgetfulness (and now clumsiness) is due to lack of sleep. Sounds about right to me!

It’s all happening now and its a bit crazy but at the same time I don’t think it’s bad as we’re all taking it seriously and contributing as much as we can.

Anyway, so back to Wednesday…

After our show meeting I had a bit of a frustrating experience in the college 3D workshop (a bit like a technology design department) where my mdf has not been laser cut even though its been sitting there for weeks and I had been told it would be done soon.

Being unable to come in to ensure an actual slot is booked for me on the laser cutting machine (the timetable goes up on a Friday and is filled up straight away by a queue of waiting students) I was told I’d be ‘fitted in’.

However, it is now that time of the year where the staff are understandably run off their feet helping out the BA students as their show is just around the corner (a week before ours).  As a result the pressure seems to be too much.

Going in to check if my MDF was ready to collect I was first told to wait around for possibly a couple of hours, which I was prepared to do! And then when another student turned up, I was told there was no time for my mdf to be cut.  I left with nothing done and with my ears full of nonsense I did not need to hear. Something needs to be done regarding the current system for signing  for slots. It is not accommodating at all for any part-time students. Knowing most students come in on a Wednesday, the staff are still unwilling to make changes to their rotas. You can probably tell I was not very pleased that day. I could go on about it for a while but I haven’t even got the time to dwell on it.

I wanted to use the above-mentioned mdf as part of my plinth, which I’ve learnt is going to cost me maybe £400 if I have it custom-made. I could order a standard one for maybe £200 but that will still need modification to suit my basic show needs. Surely things shouldn’t be this difficult.

Another problem I am now faced with is not being able to use a PC for my projection. I had set-up processing and installed the OpenCV library but kept getting errors when trying to run the file. After some research and asking Leon Barker for his expert help, it seems there is a bug when using Windows XP for which there is no reliable fix. So now I’m back to having to use a Mac (which I may not be able to get). I’ve put my name down on a list for a Mac Mini (so that it fits in the plinth) but this is not guaranteed. Therefore, I might need to make other arrangements at the last-minute! This is not great at all! Ergh.

Anyway, so yeh that wasn’t a good day for me. But I came home, napped off my headache and am looking on the bright side, I’m alive and nothing that terrible has really happened, Thank God.

Something to cheer me up – I finally got round to sorting through some of my photos from Istanbul. I’m really into architectural shots and so most of them are focussing on details in decor or structure. There were so many mosques so I was surrounded by an abundance of patterns, both geometric and arabesque. Not to mention beautiful scenery and locations along the river.

Here are a few of the photos I managed to take:

Blue Mosque detail

Blue Mosque detail

Courtyard of Blue Mosque

Courtyard of Blue Mosque

Fountain in courtyard of Blue Mosque

Fountain in courtyard of Blue Mosque

Gold dome of external fountain

Gold dome of external fountain

Geometric pattern made with inlaid mother of pearl - cabinet doors within Topkapi palace

Geometric pattern made with inlaid mother of pearl - cabinet doors within Topkapi palace

Exterior walls of the Harem covered with tiles (Topkapi palace)

Exterior walls of the Harem covered with tiles (Topkapi palace)

Decorative patterns within the Haghia Sophia

Decorative patterns within the Haghia Sophia

Mosque on the edge of the river bank along the Bosphorous

Mosque on the edge of the river bank along the Bosphorous

I’ve been soo inspired by my visit there that I’m already thinking of a series of paintings based on the Iznik tiles. It will be a nice way to unwind and keep the creative juices flowing after the MA. It will be a less pressured project and will probably take much longer but it’ll be so much more relaxing not having a deadline. Can’t wait.

Oh and the water-jet cut aluminium has been ordered but won’t arrive till the 15th. That gives me time to do the essay, sort out using the processing code to work with an external camera, build a plinth (that has not been laser-cut) with shelves and a glass top, find or make some polyhedron models for user-interaction on the plinth, oh and I nearly forgot, cut out more mirror card for a side item (possibly to hang on a spare bit of wall in the show).

Now you know why I’m having those Daymares!

Being unable to come in to ensure an actual slot is booked for me on the machine (the timetable goes up on a Friday and is filled straight away by a queue of waiting students) as I am only ever in on a Wednesday, I was told I’d be fitted in.

DXF formats and floor plans

May 20, 2010

Boring title I know but it’s late and I can’t think of anything better. Anyway…

I feel a little restless when I’m at work where I suddenly remember something that needs to be done for the project or I think of an idea that could help solve a certain issue with the practical work but I’m unable to do anything till I get home in the evening, by which time I’m usually too knackered or think of something else that also needs to be done. It is the first time since starting the course that I’ve really felt the disadvantage to being part-time.

Progress with materials: I was originally going to get some aluminium laser cut but that was going to be quite expensive. Then a very kind professional sculptor (Sahand Hesamiyan) advised me on the possibilities of having it water-jet cut instead. So far this appears a better and possibly cheaper option and without the potential to leave burnt edges where the shapes have been cut out.

I’ve prepared the pattern file in Illustrator, converted it to DXF (which is a CAD file) and have sent it off to find out how long the machine will take to cut the pattern which is where the cost starts to mount up. As it’s quite intricate compared to the kind of things they usually cut (like mechanical parts) the cost will probably be quite high (relatively speaking). But I’m hoping that even then it comes in at a reasonable price, compared to the laser cutting option. Will give an update once I find out.

———–

The full-timers on the course have speedily got into the organisers mode and got the cogs turning in terms of getting the show sorted. Not one to sit back and do nothing, I’ve contributed some time in measuring our exhibition spaces and drawing up the floor plans. These were sent to the group, and are especially important to the on-liners who are unable to come down (some being abroad) and who will need to have an idea of what the physical space will look like.

Floor plan for room which will be well lit and generally light

Floor plan of dark space (will be kept in darkness with only selective lighted areas)

It really makes me think about all that is involved for solo as well as group shows and this process makes you think about things from a different perspective. I’m totally more in tune with the importance of exhibition spaces being suitable and in a way I now have more refined ideas of what would be perfect and what isn’t but would do anyway. And also how to make the most of what you have. Now, what I’m actually hinting at is the fact that the space our group has been allotted in the MA show isn’t really as big as it should be (simply because we’re having to accommodate the space rather than accommodate our work. But compare this to how much space the other larger groups have to share and, well, we’re not as bad off.

Plus, if I get the sculpture looking good for this then I may have a better chance of getting this and bigger work shown at a local gallery.