Dan Rowan-Smith and I decided we wanted to do a show in the morgue at Chelsea College. As the majority of our work is digital, we don’t often get to exhibit work or have it hanging around in the studios like a painter or sculptor does, also it’s always good to get more show experience.
Making a Picture Frame
Making the Balloon
The balloon came about whilst trying to solve a very specific problem; We wanted to project onto a smokescreen. The idea came to project the tornado below onto a screen made by having smoke coming out of a perforated pipe as high pressure, creating a screen on which we could project like in this video:
However, we realised fairly quickly that this would trigger smoke alarms and needed a way around that. We dabbled with ideas of fans to create a current to pull the smoke in a desired direction, but then decided that if we sealed off the back room of the morgue (which doesn’t have a smoke alarm) we could project through the film onto the smoke. For that purpose I purchased some polythene dust sheets from B&Q. However, we wondered whether after we took the film away after the show was done it might cause the alarms to go off then, this is where the idea of creating a balloon came from, with the intention of then plugging up the gap. Dan suggested from here that we might use the balloon as a sculptural element within the show, something we had been discussing previously that was missing from our plans for the show. Using a technique Dan tried last year, we used a soldering iron passed over greaseproof paper to melt the plastic of the two dust sheets together, later we used a pair of hair straighteners which worked much faster and required less accuracy. Initially we tried to fill the balloon with the smoke only but found it was nowhere near powerful enough, therefore we got an air pump.
I was initially very surprised at quite how well the idea worked. The polythene was slightly white which did mean the smoke was less obvious and the projection landed very much on the surface of the balloon, but it is a start and with this method there are many avenues to go down in future.
Dan Rowan-Smith‘s Simulations
There were a number of last-minute issues; we had borrowed media players in order to have a neat way of playing to the projector and monitors. The monitors didn’t seem to recognise the media players’ signals and the media player connected to the projector that could be seen was unable to play the files we wanted. This meant Dan and I had to play the files from our laptops to the monitors and play a file that had a watermark on the projector and block part of the projection so that it would go unseen. Other than that and the fact that we were unable to get ale rather than foam from the kegs Dan bought to satiate our guests, things went quite smoothly.