Exhibition: Part-I (Installation)
by Beauchamp Art
Documentation of the Part-I exhibition installation and equipment testing.
Before installing my work in the space, I tested all of my equipment beforehand in my studio space. I used my power lead and media player, borrowed the speakers from the MRC, and the TV from FA storage. After a small amount of kerfuffle, battery swopping, and electronic jiggery-pokery, everything ran fine, it automatic started on the right file, but had to set to loop automatically with the remote. And after powering off the set up and turning it back on, the USB connected to the Media Player had to be removed and reinserted, probably due to static build up, and the video cable was very sensitive to movement. Beyond that, the CRT set up was fairly straightforward.
Testing Cancophony; was less straightforward. Having assembled the 3 can-phone before hand, then transporting them in my bag, they had become cataclysmically tangled. Even after walking around with it clamoring about as I tried to untie it, it remains in a Gordian knot, that meant I would be unable to use the phones individually, reducing their participatory impact, making them more a sculptural object. (Though becoming a walking ruckus of communication techno-satire felt like a performance in itself.) Once the piece was installed in the space, I was to add more tins to the pile as the weeks went on. I originally planned to add more phones, but after running out of string, and the whole thing becoming frustratingly wound up, I was too wound up to continue with it, and essentially abandoned it to the gallery. It was intended as a lo-fi counterpoint to the TV and iPad versions, but the dialogue between those two and the audience was strong enough to sustain itself.
After revisiting the piece later in the exhibition and adding more cans, I also tangled it up with the emergency phone cable, and made an ascending line of the tins, as if they were an escalating volume or phone signal symbol on audio device, building up to the ramshackle folly of tins.
(Photo by Kelly Briggs)
Preparing the soup, gathering ingredients and bowls was all straightforward and cohesive collective. A number of us went to Anglia Square to buy the carrots, potatoes and fresh coriander for the soup. Then we headed to the 99p Store, and picked up a bowl for each person that would be eating; all but Kelly, as she was abstain from the soup to externalise herself from the realization of the ceremony, becoming one of the crowd, and unassuming orchestra of all things orange. We chopped, grated, and cooked the soup fairly easily, though lacking a blender, it was mashed rolling pin in a bowl, like a giant pestle and mortar, to make the broth more liquid, with some success. The plates were also cleaned and dried, before being stacked and transported, along with the soup, over to the exhibition (though the gap preparation/serving time did mean it had to be reheated)
Given the orange theme running through the exhibit, we had chosen to each wear something orange (and my video looked fittingly crimson when displayed), it was also appropriate that a number of the furnishing in my house, where the soup was being made, were also orange; the chairs, sofa, light fittings, microwave, dish-brush, etc. And so it was a thematically/aesthetically relevant environment to cook the carrot and coriander soup.
Although all the equipment had been booked, borrowed, bought or otherwise acquired needed and had tested everything beforehand, the plinth did require a small amount of modifying, as the wires being used were shorter than anticipated, a small hole had to be drilled in the back of the plinth for the video cable to go through. Despite getting the Estate’s drill somewhat stuck at one point, with the assistance of Joe, it was successfully removed, and the cable slotted through perfectly (though I did have to crawl inside the plinth to pass it through from the inside).
All equipment was hidden was hidden away beneath the pillar, the only external part of the TV display was the trailing white cable, which could have done to be taped down, but due to having to move the plinth every time there needed to be any technical adjustments, such as volume, or wobbling cables, or when it needed to be turned on and set to loop, it had to be lifted up. So having it totally fixed was not practical at the time. Should I reinstall a similar display, I would hope to resolve this issue; possibly by hiding the wire within the plinth, and having it closer to a power outlet (though the exact position was determined by its conjunction with the table for the soup, and to evenly space Nicole’s images). Alternatively, a small hatch could be added to the back of the plinth, making access to the wires and such easier and safer for someone to do by themselves, as leaning the TV on the pillar to turn the Media Player on was slightly tentative when done by oneself.
With turning it on each day, some of the equipment did shift, and at points the display had to be dismantled and reassembled due to a loose cable, the Media Player crashing, and the volume being slightly too loud. But over-all, the set up of the TV was fairly straight forward.
Moreover, after initially testing the iPad version of the film by streaming it from YouTube, thereby allowing the viewer to directly ‘Share’ the content online through its display, as well as by passing the object around, I then decided to transfer the a file of edited version to the device, featuring the ‘Share’ panels, and a version of the soundtrack that had the names being read out slightly louder, though still barely audible; on the edge of hearing and understanding, lost to the confusing noisy chaos. This was a most stable and sustainable means of display, as it was less battery intensive, and it could be rewound more discretely (as getting a video to loop on an iPad is not straightforward). It also meant I could resize the display so the video would fit perfectly; filling the screen when it was both landscape and portrait, so the audience could hold the iPad upright, in a more natural orientation, and mirror the elongated display of the face through the interface, which could be held in conjunction with the body, in front of one’s own or other people’s face.
Overall, besides having to drill a hole in the plinth, having to jiggle the wires a bit to get the video to work, the iPad not looping, and the cans being essentially forgotten, I think I managed to overcome any obstacles whilst setting up my work, with the help of my peers. And I believe that we all helped contribute to the cohesive installation and running of the exhibition, supporting one another fairly, lending hands, eyes, and ears whenever they were needed, without being too dependent on any individual and without the need to be totally self-reliant. We each help hold tape measures, spirit levels, hammers, nails; move tables, and generally tie up loose ends most effectively. Working collectively to instal the exhibition on participation seems a fitting and satisfying narrative, and our works benefited from the shared environment (an none of us particularly minded the lingering smell of decaying grated onions that accompanied the show after the Filipa’s performance at the opening event),
With all photos for this even I amplified the orange colours in the photos slightly to subtly support Kelly’s Daisy and the Triangle work; and boosting the blues to contrast and hint at her and Nicole’s ongoing collaborations.