This is my finished outcome, a shadow box that depicts the abandoned artefacts and stories I would create around them. All from one place, Fremington woods where I basically grew up. I’m happy with how my piece came out. I enjoy how it feels childlike like the toys I researched. It dates the stories as a childhood thing and makes it feel like a story is being told. Just like the shadow puppet shows I’d seen as a child.
The making was more difficult than I thought and constructing my outcome took a little longer than expected. Next time I create something 3D I may have to give myself longer for the making stage. The project was also incredibly fiddly to do, I did get frustrated quite a bit but I managed to finish it to a standard I like. If I could improve it however I would have used foam board for the top and bottom to have a more sturdy piece. Also experimenting with my illustrative style is something I would like to do in the future. It’s not what I usually do so I tried to keep it simple as to not over do things. But finding my own style could benefit projects in the future and give me more ways to express the topic at hand. Overall I’m quite happy with how this project went, I feel I interpreted the brief in my own way and have an outcome that I think speaks for my definition of psychogeography.
I started the mock up today on layout paper. I laid out each abandoned item and the surrounding areas to get an overview of how I wanted things to look. I noticed immediately that I didn’t like the look of the layout paper, because its quite thin it feels very temporary to me which I don’t think fits with my outcome. I want my more sturdy and to look more thought-out like the toys I was influenced by. This was something I knew I needed to look into after deciding the layout. However I did like the size I was working with. When I connected it together to make the circle its this petit hand held size which is exactly what I wanted for this. Something the audience can pick up and peer into, as if they’re peering into my mind as a child. So far it is looking good and as I’ve imagined in my head. I drew over where I wanted my stories and added notes on things I needed to adapt to the landscape in order to see the shadow behind. The mock up is set for reference while creating my outcome I just need to figure out the material and how best to show the shadows.
I first wanted to try tracing paper and it gave the exact effect I was looking for, just like a shadow puppet show. Super childlike and innocent looking. Compared to my layout paper trial, the first row below, and the tracing paper it looks to much better and the shadows are much more pronounced now. Something else I took from these experiments was that I need to keep the illustrations of the landscape simple, I don’t want it to take away from the scenes behind but complement them instead. Another thing was I need to think about how shadows can enhance the light, for instance in the bottom right picture the flames really stand out against the black. Although too much black dulls down the rest of the scene. I just need to find that balance when creating the final piece. Apart from that I ready to start on my outcome which I’ll document in my next blog.
I had my one to one critique today in which I told my tutor how I wanted my outcome to look. I want a linear storyboard of the woods and to incorporate shadows behind to illustrate the stories. Almost like a shadow box or a non moving zoetrope. He really liked my idea, which gave me some confidence to keep going. Some questions he asked were; what was I making it out of? and what will the scale be? These are things I still needed to sort out so after my critique I made a plan of action in which I stated what needed to be done. My outcome will look almost like a zoetrope and shadow box combined. I want the scale to be not too big, almost the size of an A4 sheet of paper, so the audience can peer inside and hopefully get an essence of the woods. For the materials Im going to use layout paper, its that mid point between tracing paper and printer paper and would have a more intense shadow. Using black card for the stories will also help to make the shadow more prominent. I now need to start making a mock up of the scene and see what needs to be adapted as I go.
Above are some of the pieces that stood out to me while doing my research. One by Kumi Yamashita is a series of faces created using squares of paper made to look like the profile of some ambiguous people. Its a simplistic piece and because of this leaves lots up to the audience’s imagination. I thought her piece could be saying that we may be different colours but we’re all human on the inside. That could be a little simple and I think there is more behind it. It also feels very temporary to me, the paper looking as if it may slip of the walls at any time and her work would be gone. Using shadow in work can be difficult and your results all depend on light. Having something thats changes through out the day could use natural light but for a fixed outcome like this static light would be best. Unless her purpose was to let the faces come in and out of focus with the movement of the sun. It gives me lots to think about when it comes to my own outcome.
Another piece I enjoyed was Rashard Alakbavor, a scenic shadow display using lights and colour to create this bright place. The glass he collected was from the landscape, creating an image of this beach with parts of it. Bringing this landscape to an art gallery confines it and captures the beauty of the beach scene without being there. The hanging glass also feels very childlike to me, much like a mobile for children. Its there to amuse and incite wonder just like this exhibit does. This is something I want to bring to my own work, bringing the essence of the the woods through my eyes. I think that by creating a 3D piece shadow outcome I can play on that childlike innocence connected to my theme. Just like Alakbavor’s mobile hanging it incites this childlike wonder about it.
Before my one to one next week I wanted to start on experimenting with how I could incorporate the shadow. I drew a scene from Fremington woods which would be the base and then cut out things that would be part of my stories from a child. Suspending them from behind and shinning a light through, I could get this sense of something thats not really there. I like the way that its looks so far and I feel I could get quite a bit of detail with this thickness of paper. However I want to try on some thinner paper to see the different results. I’ll need to continue this after my critique and see where things go from there.
Today I wanted to start thinking about how I could illustrate my stories. My outcome needs to be almost like a storyboard that shows each story from each abandoned item in the woods. I was thinking of creating the scenes with a continuous line drawing as it has the essence of being a linear subject. I also want to have this sense of childlike wonder, I thought of making a mobile with each story suspended in the air. Hanging from above the audience’s head to symbolise how all the stories were in my head and imagined. The lack of being grounded would help to create a fantasy feel. Some other ideas I thought about doing was illustrations of the imagined scenes over photographs. The issue with this is I don’t have any photos and can’t take any. It would have been a nice idea to have a set of them, although I want a more childlike story book presence to show where those memories came from. A pop up book could work or a flip book but I want to do something different for this project and explore a different way of working than my usual.
Mid way through the morning I had my one to one critique which I found quite helpful and motivated me to keep the pace up. My tutor said he really likes my idea and that there is plenty ways I could go from it. He also said that now I need to just figure out where I want to go with visualising it. I told him some of my ideas for instance to have the stories keep linear and together to give a map of the woods which he found interesting. He then suggested creating a 3D model and pin pointing each place of significance. I think this idea could be a good one to explore further and something I haven’t yet done. So after the critique this is what I did.
I was thinking of ways I could create a 3D scene and I thought about shadow boxes and zoetrope’s. Those antique ‘animation devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of pictures’. Its reminiscent of my childhood, I know when I was young seeing one in school and it seeming so magical. I liked this idea of having a 3D model created with shadows, the shadows to symbolise how engulfing the woods were. I could spend hours in there and not realise the time. So from this I wanted to look into some shadow art, something I’d also done as a kid and remembering it to be so fun and imaginative. Next I’m going to try and get as much shadow art research done before my critique Tuesday.
From the critique I had yesterday I know I needed to documentation the stories I had made up when I was a kid. I tried thinking of the things in the woods that I remember being abandoned and what memories I had from them. The first thing that came to mind was an abandoned car which as a kid I thought may have been left there in a Bonnie and Clyde sort of getaway, ditched in the middle of the woods perish. It could be a good story to work with, I could continue the story out within the scene. Showing how the environment has adapted around this story I’m telling. Another story that I remember quite vividly was because of an abandoned wooden bed looking thing. I always thought it was Slenderman’s bed. Slenderman being an internet urban legend, a creepy pasta, in which a tall ambiguous man would hide in the woods and take children. Although as a kid I was more excited to see Slenderman and perhaps meet him than actually being scared. I could illustrate something from my younger selfs imagination as a story book, to illustrate my childlike thoughts which all came from the environment from me. Perhaps linking all the memories together creating a map of this story. There are so many avenues I could go down with this idea, I just need to find the perfect one to illustrate what I want to say. I have more stories from Fremington woods including other abandoned things like an old well, caravan and tiny doorway. I think using more or all of the stories to create this childlike vision of my place would be best. I can focus on multiple parts of the woods rather than a small section. It could map out my thoughts as a kid while walking through the woods.
After writing down these stories I thought about looking online for some news articles or something to see if there were any actual stories emanating from the woods. As predicted I found virtually nothing. Coming from an old village most of the information isn’t online and in books in Fremingon which I can’t get to unfortunately. I did however find these photographs taken 8 years ago of some of the abandoned things left in the woods. It is interesting to see all the machinery thats left here and how it then becomes part of the landscape. What is also interesting is how I make up these stories around these items, imagining my own history of the place. As a child I find a more interesting history than what I’m guessing actually happened. Im curious to see what my stories will look like together. It will be a unique map of my imagination which compared to someone else could be completely different. Tomorrow I have a day in uni and I think a chance for a one to one critique. In the morning I will start thumb nailing ideas of how I can best show my ideas and see where I am after the critique.
Today we had a group critique on our ideas so far. The feedback that I had was really helpful. Firstly they liked the idea about using my memories to encapsulate the place. I suggested looking into genius loci, meaning spirit of a place, as Fremington is so old and bound to have stories. They liked that idea and thought about telling the essence of the woods through someone from the past or a made up person. Just like reimagining history. I know its difficult anyway to research Fremington history as everything is in books and in Fremington. As I’m unable to get there for this project, reimagining history could be a good way to go. I remember as a kid I would make up stories of why certain things had been left in the woods. For instance an old car which I though could have been ditched there in a Bonnie and Clyde sort of get away. If I chose this avenue I could use my made up history as a child to create a kind of story book of the woods. My peers suggested watching a kids movie called the Bridge to Terabithia, its about two kids imagining a world inside a wooden. This idea could fit closely to mine. Creating a child-like imagined woodland with stories interwoven. Overall the critique was really helpful and allowed me to narrow down my idea. Im going to explore those memories and stories from my childhood next and see what I have to work with.
After having the brief I wanted to get down the ideas I had and the ways I could approach this project. One idea I had was using certain memories of the woods to illustrate the place from my perspective. I like this idea because I could make something really personal which is what the brief is asking for. Another was one sprouting from the land art research I had done, thinking about what humans do to landscapes. From the top of my head I can think of so many items left in the woods and thing built and abandoned. There would be lots of avenues to explore with this idea. How some people create and others destroy and why they do this. It would also be important to note who uses the wood which from what I’ve seen is mainly dog walkers. Things like cars, farming equipment and beds must have been left many years ago as they have trees growing through them. How long have they been there and whats there story? This are all questions I could explore. At this point there are so many questions and thoughts in my head that I’m looking forward to my critique tomorrow so I can get some feedback.
I thought it would be interesting to see what I remember about the woods and what is actually real. So I drew the layout of the woods and field from memory, adding stories and things that I remember. I then drew the map to see if it was very actuate. For the most part it is although I vastly underestimated the size of the woods. I thought it was smaller but that may just be because I’m so familiar with it. I like the idea of exploring my memory of the woods, it could be more imaginative and exiting that.
Today we were given our overarching brief for this project, which compared to my normal briefs in Graphics is very very open. Having such an open brief is a little daunting but I do get the freedom to create what ever I like. I just need to develop a body of work in the pursuit of a psychogeographic outcome, concerning a certain place or space. Guy Debord’s definition of psychogeography is the study of specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals. The subject is so open and up to discussion that many people have there own definition of it. We were asked to have our own definition of psychogeography, mine would be the way a place or space can alter your thoughts and mind. This will be the basis for my project.
psychology + geography = psychogeography
My initial thoughts on the brief were a little worried, as I’ve said before this brief is so open that I don’t know where to start. To combat this I tried to take it step by step first by thinking of any places I have a connection to. One that I initially thought of was Griggs Field and the connecting woodland. I basically grew up in that place from walking our dogs to riding my bike around the pit with my friends. I’d know and enjoyed that place since I was very young and still have so many amazing memories. It was an integral part of my childhood that defiantly helped shape me into the person I am today. Because of this and how well I know the words, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look into my memories of the woods.
In a brief initial talk with one of my tutors he said I should look into land art for some inspiration. I found these three pieces each done by different artists on TheCultureTrip.com. They all stood out to me for there beauty and ore at the landscapes. Each look stunning and had quite thought provoking topics behind them. One for example ‘Martin Hill’s oeuvre explores the relationship and potential for sustainability between human and non-human systems, focusing on environmental sculptures intended to eventually return to nature.’ It opens that conversation with the viewer about having a more sustainable future. Being such a consumerist society, we don’t take in to account the damage to nature we cause. I enjoy how the piece is temporary and eventually will return back to nature as intended. It really allows the audience to take a step back and think about what we are doing. Another is ‘Jeremy Underwood’s work which explores the often complex relationship between humankind and the environment, with a specific focus on the cultural ideologies humans project upon the landscape’. Each sculpture made from rubbish and debris found in Houston, Texas’s waterways. Again questioning the audience on their consumer culture ideologies and the way pollution is devastating landscapes. Both frame these beautiful landscapes to perhaps show how in the future we may only have pictures to remember these views. Really interesting themes to look at, I enjoy the idea of looking at human rubbish and how its effects both the landscape and our thoughts. Knowing the amount of discarded waste in Fremington woods it could be an interesting path to go down.
I next want to get some idea down around my chosen place, Fremington woods, before our idea critique Thursday. I have a few so far and thinking back to previous project I can get plenty down in order to get some important feedback.
In this two day group project we were given a square of Cardiff to explore and to create an essence of the place visually. Using psychogeographic principals, mainly walking, to gain a personal perspective of the space and then present to the class. Our group was given our square which mainly incorporated Roath which was only a 2 minute walk away from my home. Initially looking around the side streets off the main road it was a lot of terraced housing. Some kept better than others. The streets had plenty of rubbish laying out and damaged abandoned buildings too. It wasn’t the most pleasing place to look at or though we thought. Walking through the streets we did notice all the graffiti, like little gems hidden in this otherwise sad looking estate. They were often bright and were trying to add something to the neighbourhood, either politically or just as an expression of themselves. We as a group all wanted to document the graffiti throughout Roath because to us it was something interesting to find.
When it came to creating our outcome, graffiti was at the fore front of our minds and this is what we really wanted to showcase. It was a big part of Roath, having art hidden about everywhere we looked. So for the outcome we decided to make a simple black line drawing of the estate and college on all the graffiti we saw. Trying to give the same feeling we had about the place. One of interesting pieces of art dotted around a very standard housing estate.
In our crit we were told we had the most positive outlook compared to the rest of the class, funnily enough. Our peers said it was an interesting avenue to go down and looking in to different types of graffiti from around the world could be an interesting theme. Other groups had some intriguing takes on what they documented for instance one documented emotion which really links in to our brief. This could be a thought provoking aspect to look deeper into too as for everyone a certain place could be completely unique. Im gathering more and more ideas as we go along and am defiantly feeling much more confident for our overarching brief.