PPD: External Recording – LCC

Uncertainty Playground: FutureMakers‘ was a series of events run at the London College of Communication in September- October 2017.

I was employed for one day to assist with two events: A DIY Instrument Making Workshop with Hackoustic as well as a Percussion Performance and Workshop. I got the job from a contact at Wimbledon who had recently transfered to Elephant & Castle campus.

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The organiser was very invested and it was a hands on installation and set-up, of which my part was to help where I could, although my main task was to record the live performance.

Because the performance involved a fair number of different instruments lain across the space that the performer would go between, I set up two mics in an XY pattern generally used for choirs and the like. This would give an impression of the space and acoustics, as well as allow you to orientate yourself to the movement of the performer around the space.

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The other half of the day was helping Hackoustic with their workshop and set-up, although they were extremely self-reliant and had bespoke kit that they’d built themselves. The workshop involved making instruments – a rudimentary electric guitar striped down to its basic components – using a standard rectangle timber as the base.

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This was part of the reason why I couldn’t offer much help to Hackoustic – I didn’t know the material well enough to help teach the workshop participants. So instead, I helped with basic tasks and anybody who was stuck during the workshop, though if it was something complex, I often ended up calling over one of the two main guys. and learning from them in the process.

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For the Percussion Performance, I knew the gear and knew what I was doing, for the Instrument making workshop, far less so – however I did the best I could and learnt as I went.

What I got from this:

– I had a lot of responsibilty with this event, the recording I made was for both promotional reasons but also the documentation and proof the event happened. If I had messed up the recording, it couldn’t be recreated.

 

http://events.arts.ac.uk/event/2017/9/16/Uncertainty-Playground-FutureMakers/

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PPD: LCC – Exhibitions Assistant

I was hired through Arts Temps to do an audit of the exhibition spaces and resources for the London College of Communication (LCC).

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This involved painstakingly going through the exterior storage spaces of plinths, vitrines, placards, and other exhibition assets documenting each with measurements and reference photos into a spreadsheet.

The job also required creating floor plans of each of the exhibition spaces (there were some plans already created, though I was advised to start from scratch as the measurements were unreliable on them). I used a combination of laser measure and tape measure to capture the dimensions and added them to rough sketches of the space. I also took reference photos for any intricate or complex shapes.

Well GalleryAt home I used Adobe Illustrator to create digital floor plans and transfered the dimensions from the sketches. I perhaps could have been using AutoCAD’s architecture software offer, but was more familiar with the Adobe Workspace as well as more confident in navigating the support available for the Creative Cloud.

The whole assignment (including the creation of the digitial plans) was undertaken over several days over the course of around a week and a half, as I had to fit it around my Uni schedule, as well sporadic negotiated access to the spaces.

It certainly broadened my skillset as well as giving me an insight into the audit and beaurocratic needs of public gallery spaces.

What I got from this:

I learnt how to use Adobe Illustrator and gained an appreciation for the demands of running a public facing gallery space.

What I’m going to take forward:

I can now create these sorts of plans for future spaces and can be more accurate with the specifics: for example, my degree show final piece’s showing space, meaning I could talk to the suppliers and technicians with accurate details and understandings of what I would need.

 

PPD: Benefactors’ Reception

I got an ArtsTemps job through to assist in a Textiles Screenprinting workshop for the UAL Benefactors. The event was held at Chelsea College of Arts in the printmaking workshop. Having not worked with textiles much before, myself and Alex were run through the main differences between printing on paper vs textiles and then started prepping the space ready for the guests.

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The screens were already exposed, so our role was to teach and assist those who had never screen printed before, as well as more practical responsibilities such as prepping the tote bags (newspaper had to be put inside the bags to stop the ink leaking through to the back face) and cleaning the screens.

Levels of experience of the workshop participants varied hugely, with some having never screen printed before, whilst some were very much well versed in the medium – so we had to tailor the level of instruction and support we gave to each person, whilst often trying to oversee around 4 or 5 people each.

What I got from this:

  • The night’s work gave a great insight into the responsibilities and business that come with assisting in a workshop in general, especially one for complete novices. I gained the skills necessary to balance these responsibilities effectively.

 

 

Interim Show: Instagram Takeover

As part of the promotion and documentation of the Interim show and thanks to already knowing the marketing team from working as a student ambassador, I was able to host a takeover of the Wimbledon College of Arts Instagram.

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The near 3,400 followers that the account had allowed us to get our work, and our own Instagram art account in front of a large audience and drive engagement (even if the viewing figures for the story itself were somewhat lower)

This helped to build the following of our own accounts, but also interest in the Print and Time-Based media course within WCA.

 

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What I got from this:

  • The ability to successfully network and promote a show can greatly impact on the shows visitor figures. Knowing how to use already constructed audiences over several social media platforms can give a huge boost to a marketing campaign.

Final Piece: The Catalyst

During the Easter holidays, I made a trip to Paris and stayed in a hostel for nearly 2 weeks. Having spent the first 7 years of my life in France, this was the first time I’d been back for an extended period of time, and especially alone.

Broadly speaking, and the answer I would give if anybody asked, I was going to improve my French. Again, I basically hadn’t spoken it for a decade and a half – and if I had it was so far removed from the context of the everyday: think Midlands schoolkids bashing their way through ‘je joué au foot’.

It was different this time.

With my notebook already armed with key phrases that seemed half familiar, and a map of the Paris Métro that did not, I stepped off the train and out of the gates of the Gare Du Nord.

The first thing I noticed was the cold, the remnants of the beast from the east. The second was the bustle – almost but not quite matching London. Finally, the militarisation struck me. Soldiers, honest to god soldiers with semi automatic rifles and camo gear guarded the station, alongside the equally kitted out Police.

On the second or third day, my bag gave up the ghost. This led to the first big test of my french. It was a step by step process. In the glasses store that I walked into in order to ask where I could buy a – I guess I didn’t actually know the word for bag, so I mimed enthusiastically, using props (obviously I could convey what I wanted fairly well – it was just the vocabulary that escaped me). The attended kindly pointed me down the street towards the main shopping district, carrying on down the Rue la Lafayette. The behemoth that is the Galeries Lafayette soon greeted me, and I slinked around in awe and only slightly disoriented. After finally finding a section that sold ‘sacs’, I looked through a few and picked one out. €129. Yeah. No. Again fumbling for vocab, I tried to convey that I was looking for a bag that perhaps ‘moins’ – I rubbed two fingers and thumb together. Ah, d’accord, moins cher, he replied. He suggested ‘Citadium’ – une autre boutique.

As it turned out Citadium didn’t have the type of bag I was after either, but having to visit it and several other stores before ending with joy in the Decathlon at la Madeleine cemented basic interactionary French in the front of my mind, and having the such a specific task did frame my interactions in a way which made it a lot easier to pick up words and gleam meaning from context. I would definitely recommend it as a way to jump back into a language after a long time away.

  • What I got from this:
    These experiences formed the catalyst for the final piece as I want to delve deeper into the human experience, particularly the sharing of deep human emotions I have trouble accessing. I want a way to share these experiences with others and have it resonate with them.
  • What I want to Take forward:
    The power of memory. Part of what made the trip to Paris so integral to the work is that it allowed me to access memories that had previously been relegated to a deep chasm of my mind. Even something as throwaway as a McDonald’s advert was still referring to a particular piece of French media and culture and triggered my memories associated with the character (in this instance Lucky Luke – technically Belgian). It was the specificity of it that mattered, and that specificity is the crux of the memory vignettes I present in my final piece, ‘Familiar Ghosts’.

Research: Listen; 140 Years of Recorded Sound, The British Library

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The British Library has an extensive sound archive, which had been curated into an exhibition as part of the ‘Season of Sound‘ to promote not only the archive itself but also the efforts to digitise the works which are across a plethora of media.

 

 

 

The ‘Voices of the Forces’ piece was of great interest to me. The physical object was a five-inch aluminium disc, although the audio from it had been converted for digital playback on the iPad underneath. The two were also accompanied by a British Pathé film on the subject from 1945 (below).

Besides his love, your man in the forces will now be able to send you his voice – for one and ninepence. It’s a natty Naafi idea. At many of the Nafi clubs overseas, recording rooms have been installed, where the men can come and actually speak the messages they want to send to their people at home.”
British Pathé film ‘Voices of the Forces’ (1945)

The recording was at once an intimate message from a serving soldier to his home and a piece of oral history. In its original state, it was never intended for such wide consumption as an exhibition in a national library, and as the British Pathé film alludes to, the physical media was never meant to last indefinitely. This lent a curious air of voyeurism to the experience of listening.

 

Built Space and Curation

Wooden slats painted white separated into discrete sections ran along the length of the wall, with iPads mounted next to headphones where the listener could select what to listen to as well as the linked physical media sat above in small inset sections behind perspex.

There were also cove like listening booths, with headphones and seats set up in sections that were cut out from the wood. These cocoon-like spaces were surprisingly effective at removing the person from the immediate context of the large public building. This allowed greater immersion in the sounds, which listeners were able to pick from the large selection on the iPads.

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Although the context of space is quite different here than the space in which I will be exhibiting, this visit gave key insights to the practices of displaying audio works for public consumption.

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What I got from this:

  • How to successfully isolate someone from their immediate context so they can fully engage with a sound piece, something I need to be able to do for my final piece.
  • How small snippets of a strangers history can provide unique archival information for the future. Recording one’s own experiences will always be important and gain importance over time, it’s a powerful link back to a past history.