Coutts D&AD – ideas catch-up – Locked until post submission dates

Boy do I have a need to catch up on my D&AD blogging!

After getting stuck in (on reflection) quite a horrific thinking rut, I spoke to the newest tutor at Uni and was reminded that there was much more to this display than just the details. What about scale, drama, feel of it? Its meant to be an installation, its meant to put down roots and immerse the viewer, take over some of the spaces in which its planted!

I’m meant to be presenting information but I’d managed to get myself thinking in the plotting of it. I’d managed to train myself out of the thinking in spectacle that I enjoyed doing a few months ago. And I know why I’ve started thinking like that, which as Hugh pointed out that might not be the best/natural thing for me. But I can feel myself get back into the swing of it now. Especially if I use the prompts Sue gave me to think about my installation in respect to exhibition or gallery design. There seem to be some marked similarities between the Audio Visual means of exciting, creative and relevant presentation to the public at large and a more selective audience.

Think scale. They don’t have to like all of it, they can still like the concept and adapt parts of the physical presentation as they see fit. Think props. Think setting a scene. Think projection. Think making a surface impression but sustaining closer inspection.

I think detail is a luxurious thing. Sounds fall into that too I think, which makes it all the more immersive. In its most extreme incarnation, my current favoured idea is a little odd to say the least, but very intricate.

At the moment I’m hooked on an idea surrounding a breech of the past into the present. A fireplace is situated against a wall with a mirror hanging above it, a white (or red velvet?) sheet is draped in such a way as to conceal one side of the set. (ISSUE: concealing, in place of intended revealing?)

On the mantle surrounding the fireplace there is a clock, a pair of spectacles and a bundled sheaf of papers stacked upon a book. Quiet ticking can be heard, chiming on the hour. On the floor the drape pools out next to stacks of hardback bound books, some up to a metre tall. On the spines of these books is a year inscribed in gold type (With the relevant name of the Coutts family member serving as head of bank?) Amongst these stacks there is possibly a chair or low table as prop.

As the second picture here builds on, the theatre can be increased when the relevant information and images are projected into place.

Primarily, photographs or illustrative drawings of the archive objects can be displayed through projection onto the open double page spreads of large books, set on top of the stacks. These would most likely be set at an angle, to allow the best viewing opportunities. Two or three of these display surfaces would be made available, each showing a slow slideshow of different items from the archives. Intending to appear as part of the books themselves, the accompanying information regarding these images/illustrations could be incorporated into a double page display for each book, or limiting surfaces to pairs, 2 corresponding surfaces of text and image. Acting as a fixed spotlight, the projectors alone would provide most of the lighting in a dimmer environment. To highlight aspects of the display, additional spotlighting may be required to suggest atmosphere.

In another variation to this idea, a cloud of loose leaf pages/parchment is suspended in flight above the work. Would this appear as falling or rising, however? Given the placement of the intact books below them, I would think that it would look more similar to rising- but I have been very wrong before… There is also potential for a solid layer of these to be formed and projected onto, in place of the book surfaces.

On the otherhand at the most tame level of my idea, the fireplace, mantle, sheet and scattered stacks of books have been removed. More simply presented, 3 surfaces of open book pages will be placed in a cluster and use the similar methods of photograph and illustration projection. In this case, informative text would be displayed upon one of the double spreads while the remaining surfaces displayed the images.

Ideally, natural or artificial spotlighting above the work would create a dappled light around the work. There may be a problem with its interference with the surface displays.

Misc. points

Ledger paper faint on ‘paper’ surface? A3-A4 size per single.

Stacks cut like book stacks- smooth stone/marble effect, with gold text on spines, matt ‘pages’

Stacks made of plain cut stone/heavy solid material- smooth sides, with matt ‘pages’

Projection from within unit or from outside? Eliminate interference if inside. Page turn effect…? *bleurgh*

Less history but smaller, more compact.

As always, the sketches continue. Scattered and unorganised, waiting for me to make a decision with ‘safe’ or something a little bit ‘out there’. Theres a boring simplicity to the tamed idea and the wild one seems more appealing because it is just that- a little but mad.

I keep trying to think realistically and of what they want or might be looking for. But I’m going to be pitching me, how I see things. I know I’m not going to win because I’m not going to be submitted, so it doesn’t actually matter what I present at the end of the day. What I can make sure is that what I do present has integrity and has a solid concept- even if it is a bit mad. Because if this was a regular project for Uni, I’d have no second thoughts about rigging up that first crazy idea in a spare room, and carting in mirrors and mantlepieces from B&Q.

Maybe I’m being a bit too timid about it altogether? If ideas have personality, the first one is going to be more talkative than the last. And its easy to tell talkative people to be quiet, more difficult to ask quiet ones to speak-up. Think I might talk to Ruth on Friday, hi-jack her to get a fresh take on my ideas. Or for a quick boost of conversation. Who knows. At least I’m moving now, and thinking.

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