In the Far Future, Where I Belong was a show organised by myself, Daniel Bandfield, Dan Rowan-Smith and Louis Judkins as part of our second year of BA Fine Art. As a year, we were tasked to form groups and then in those groups put on an off-site show. Dan, Daniel and I joined together as we have similar ideas, goals and themes within our work. Louis wished to join us and so that created our group.
Throughout the planning of the show I worked very closely with Dan. I knew from the start that I wished to focus on creating work that also provided the context in which the show would take place and with Dan, came up withe the ideas to create ‘towers’ based off 3D models I had made in Maya. These towers were rough re-designs of those found at Canary Wharf, which I had chosen because I think they’re a bit ugly.
I wanted to incorporate all of our works together into a consistent method of display in order to create a cohesive experience for the viewer. It was my hope that unlike the stop start experience of a traditional show with works being display on walls or the floor with empty space in between, the whole show would act as a single work with the more individual elements acting as subplots expressing more focussed areas of exploration within the general theme of the whole.
As a group, however, we failed to organise collaboration between the four of us, so I made it my concern to try and work with everyone individually in order to be able to make my work suit the methods of display the wanted and also to help us develop ideas that would display together more coherently.
Dan and I worked together to build the towers from found wood. I tried different methods of construction in order to be able to see which were more stable and more portable. Initially we created 3 square frames from thicker joists that could be joined together by planks with bolts to build up the height. This was intended to make the tower easier to take apart, the bolts being less permanent than the use of screws, though when moving the tower it was impractical to take it all apart and instead it was moved in two halves. The second tower was then constructed by making 3 complete sides and joining them together. The problem with this method was slight inconsistencies in heights of the frames, meaning they were slightly misaligned when put together. The third tower had a different design, instead of square pillars that could have batons holding them together, it was to have columnar legs. A square frame was created, off of which legs made from strips of architrave were attached to provide a skeleton around which sewage piping could be placed that would provide the shape and the majority of the support. Finally, for the horizontal tower we returned to the square frame method as it was easier to reinforce with longer beams in order to take the weight of a projector, camera, TV and a model that would be housed inside.
The show was to be held in the upstairs of The Clayton Arms, a pub at the end of Mine and Daniel’s road and we only had between 09:30 and 18:00 to move everything in and set up the show. This is a point I want to be more focussed on improving in the future as one day doesn’t really provide enough time for things to be set up, test, go wrong and then be rectified. The constraints were dictated by the space as they had a show on the day before as well, limiting our time.
The frames for the towers were moved in and built fairly quickly, but it was the electronic sides of the works that caused trouble. A keyboard had to be purchased, we looked for cables to connect Louis’s films to the monitor but were unable to find them, prompting a change in how the show was set up. The monitor was then to be used to display Dan’s livestream. Dan had to go home at 5 to collect the rest of his work as well as the second of my monitors that we would be using with the show. On his return we found that the cable was not compatible with Daniel’s laptop, which the world was running off meaning a quick run to Argos to get the cable. Furthermore, for some reason, though I had tested the day before, we were unable to locate the holes on the back of the monitor to locate the bracket. This occurred after the show had already officially opened, thus the monitor on the table rather than hanging off the structure.
The horizontal tower that was to hold Dan’s model and livestream footage of it to the tv above and then also to the spare monitor. However, the water feature of the model managed to leak and so was unable to be used. Dan then had to use a different looped video to livestream, however, the stream would only stay up for approximately 5 minutes at a time before it needed to be restarted.
Our crit took place the next day with Katherine Tulloh. She mentioned the short film: La Jetee – Chris Marker film that inspired 12 Monkeys, as a way of looking at Utopia and dystopia, pointing to the grubbiness of Daniel’s ceramics juxtaposing with the cleanliness of the digital world and also saying how if the towers were more slick they would be less interesting.
We had created isolated Utopian landscapes playing on the tension between seeing a model small and imagining it larger. As such the show is a very physical and virtual experience that really plays on the human element as being very important.
Katherine mentioned how we had adopted a language for the show with my towers providing a backbone aesthetic for the other works to play off of. It was also mentioned that Louis’s film within the tower contrasted horrors insignificantly with a person watching love scenes on films. The figure was not a photograph, and actually has taken on the role of the viewer.
The online section of our exhibition can be found at inthefarfuture.com – The livestream is no longer up but the walk-around game is still available.