Below the Clair de Lune: Project Documentation

 

‘Below the Clair de Lune’, was the title of our finished project for Northern Stage that took place from the 18/5/18 and will remain there until the 2/6/18.

Upon our initial visit to the Northern Stage I noticed the empty space underneath the stairwell and immediately recognised it as a good space to have a projected piece. When developing my initial ideas, this was in the forefront of my mind.

My initial idea was to create a short documentary about people working in hospitality in Newcastle upon Tyne and their experiences with work place romances. Not necessarily people I knew, it was inspired by small cafés and eateries that seem almost stuck out of time. Frequented by people who have been going to the same place, ordering the same thing, seeing the same faces, every day for years.

The link to the play, was that Frankie and Jonnie meet working in a diner in 80’s New York. I wanted the documentary to show the idea of a ‘workplace romance’ as a transferable, very humanistic idea that is repeated throughout time and anywhere in the world. Something that resonates through the global community endlessly, that many people can relate to.

A phrase from this trailer that resonated with me was “it’s business as usual”. (also note the gossip at 0:52)

Kyp volunteered to work on the project with me, and we also had different ideas about turning the fundamental idea behind this into something more interactive, perhaps using the tables in the restaurant. These ideas all seemed to fall apart when we thought about the logistics of setting it up.

Developing the idea, we first thought about asking strangers in cafes about these kinds of experiences. After judging the timeframe of the project, we decided this might not be the best approach as it may be difficult to get permission for filming and to persuade people to get involved with the project. Although it did stay a possibility, we decided to interview one of my own colleagues as a test run, for convenience in terms of filming location and willingness to participate.

We carefully developed a set of questions together, bearing in mind questions that might end up leading to dead ends and that different people may talk about relationships that they are still in as opposed to relationships that have ended etc.

Interview Questions 1

Interview Questions 2

On the basis of how the first interview went, we decided to continue arranging interviews with people I knew, as I had a few people in mind that I knew would be interested in getting involved with the project.

We had various ideas surrounding how to format the documentary, one being to specifically use questions asked in the play, and then to cut the scenes with scenes directly from the film Frankie and Jonnie (1991). This idea fell flat as we couldn’t work out how to use the questions directly from the play without them sounding completely out of context.

Throughout the project we worked together, during filming and editing sessions. This was particularly good for our development of ideas and we had good back and forth, very open discussions about the direction of the project and worked well together. After our first filming session, we reviewed the footage and both particularly picked up on the interviewees body language, small movements and slightly uncomfortable way of being in front of the camera. Kyp then directed me to the attention of the short film ‘The Girl Chewing Gum’ by John Smith, 1976

This reference is where the idea for the final form of our documentary came from. We found humour in taking the idea of ‘directing’ the small movements and body languages of our subjects, playfully subverting their roles from interviewees to actors in a ‘play’.

Film still by Kyp Kyprianou

We knew that we wanted the piece to be projected in the downstairs area of Northern stage that I previously mentioned but we also wanted the installation to have an additional interactive element. We were experimenting with different ways of formatting the title screens, how to show the ‘stage directions’ without detracting from the actual footage. We liked the idea of having more extensive descriptions of the scenes and behaviour but couldn’t fit it all on one screen without the final piece seeming too busy. We spent a lot of time working out minute details and researching correct stage language, for example all of the stage directions such as ‘Move stage left’ or ‘exit downstage right’ are all accurate to the ‘performance’. This is when we decided to have a physical script of the ‘play’ set up in front of the piece that people could read alongside. We wrote the script post-final cut, slightly altering the text so it read as a non-dialect specific text that seemed to be personalised by the ‘actors’. We modelled our script on the script for Frankie and Jonnie in the Clair de Lune.

We dressed the area around the projection as a restaurant table, with the script presented on the table. We used a table lamp to invite the audience to read the script. Underneath the table/table cloth we had all of the projection equipment tucked away neatly. We dimmed the area using stage light wrapping, which was a way around the health and safety risks involved with dimming the lights in the area. Communicating with the venue about doing this was difficult, but on the day of installation we eventually had some help from a stage technician with dimming the lights that were dangerous to reach.

Dimming the lights with stage light wrapping

Dimming the lights with stage light wrapping pt.2

Final set up, dressed table with reading light and dimmed lights.

Projection Tests

Testing set up

We had difficulty communication with the venue about when we could come and test projection, often not getting a response or very late responses. Also, the date of the opening night of the play was miscommunicated to us from the very start of the project, which was disappointing as we had planned for the date very far in advance and were not actually able to attend the opening evening. We still opened the installation on the night that we had planned for, and had a decent turn out of friends and participants which slightly made up for the disappointment of having been given the wrong date. I set up my own signs advertising the installation, posted on social media and had some viewers that were attending other events in Northern stage that evening. I also asked the bar staff to communicate to their customers that there was an installation to see downstairs.

 

Advertising the exhibition

 

‘Below the Clair de Lune’:

 

 

 

 

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How does public making differ from other sorts of creative research?

  • A study with rather than of
  • Reliant on a public interest or engagement
  • Dependant on who decides to engage/collaborate
  • Level of engagement will have detrimental effects on the outcomes of research
  • Who are the public? This is a large variable that needs to be acknowledged in a research capacity
  • Where the research takes place will affect the public outreach
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‘Describe public making and give some examples the work draws upon’,

 

 

In response to,

Public Making: Artistic Strategies for Working with Museum Collections, Technologies and Publics (Tim Shaw, John Bowers)

 

Public Making

  • Working in Public
  • Working with the Public
  • Working for the Public
  • A combination of any or all of these things

The project in question, incorporates all three of these strategies of public making

as described in the abstract of the text in question,

‘a creative process while working in and with the public to build an artistic work’.

 

Examples drawn upon in text:

 

Warm Digits, INTERCHANGE

‘Experimental film and album of music inspired by photography and illustrations drawn from the Tyne and Wear Archives, of the 1970s’ biggest civil engineering project on Tyneside – the construction of Metro.’ – twmuseums.org.uk

 

William W. Gaver, Indoor weather stations: investigating a ludic approach to environmental HCI through batch prototyping

 

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How could the public making approach extend beyond a museum context?

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Student Seminar 1/5

Please find attached my presentation from the student seminar that took place on 1st May.

The question I responded to was “describe public making and give some examples the work draws upon”.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pq6azc8vnkbvcmg/Public%20making%201%3A5.pptx?dl=0

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Frankie & Johnnie/ Northern Stage #1

Upon my initial visit to the venue, I had two main ideas for the kind of projects I could see working well in the space.

  • Something interactive that could be set up on each table in the venue for customers and members of the audience to engage with before/during/after the performances.
  • Something that could be projected on the walls near the main foyer, stairwell.

My initial idea was to focus on drawing out the parallels between the set of the 1980’s New York Diner and the modern day equivalent eatery that one would find in the North-East of England. The regulars, the workers and the people that exist in this environment day to day.

Ideally this project would be presented as a either a series of photographs, short clips, or even a short documentary that could be looped/projected in the Northern Stage.

The idea is to emphasise the humanistic theme of the ‘work-place romance’ that is transferable to any time, place and era in modern society.

Martin Parr, GB. England. New Brighton. From ‘The Last Resort’. 1983-85.

After developing this idea with Kyp, we have decided on the idea of interviewing people from settings in Newcastle, using the existential questions lifted directly from the play’s dialogue, about life and love. We will then recreate specific scenes from the film or play in these Newcastle settings, and collage them with; original scenes from the film/play, questions being asked in scenes from the film/play, answers given in scenes in Newcastle, and vice versa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Switch Mode

I have completed my project, and decided to call it switch mode.

The final piece is a series of images based on my sketches in processing, collaged against a series of photographs shot on 35mm.

The main outcome of the sketches was that there were five main groups of overall structures within the sketches, but unequal amounts of sketches within the self contained groups.

I managed to make my circle of fifths cycle work in processing using different scenes, and an ‘if conditional’

it took me a very long time to figure out how to do it! and it seems rather long winded, but it works!!

e.g. below

 
void scene0() {
background(c*10,e*10,g*10); // chord I C Major
fill(f*10,a*10,c*10); // IV
stroke(g*10,b*10,d*10); //V

quad(c*70,d*70,e*70,f*70,g*70,a*70,b*70,c*70); // Scale
bezier(c*50,b*50,a*50,g*50,f*50,e*50,d*50,c*50); // Retrograde

ellipse(c*10,c*10,e*10,e*10); //in 3rds
ellipse(d*10,d*10,f*10,f*10);
ellipse(e*10,e*10,g*10,g*10);
ellipse(a*10,a*10,c*10,c*10);
}

void draw(){

if (i == 0) {
scene0(); }

 

}
void mouseClicked() {
//B Minor
if (i >= 24) { // if conditional
i = 0;
} else {
i = i + 1;
}
}

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tiny Datum blog post #2

I have decided to structure each sketch as follows,

  • background colour determined by chord I of the key
  • Fill colour determined by chord IV of the key
  • Stroke colour determined by chord V of the key
  • a quad determined by the values of the ascending scale
  • a bezier determined by the values of the descending scale
  • four ellipses made up of the values of the first four triads of the scale

eg.

my final piece is going to something physical, not presented in processing, but I have been trying to make the sketches move between each other. So far I can make it move from one sketch to another, but cannot get it to loop round.

Here is the code I am using to make that happen

 

———————————————————————————————

void draw(){
background(c*10,e*10,g*10); // chord I
fill(f*10,a*10,c*10); // IV
stroke(g*10,b*10,d*10); //V

quad(c*70,d*70,e*70,f*70,g*70,a*70,b*70,c*70); // Scale
bezier(c*50,b*50,a*50,g*50,f*50,e*50,d*50,c*50); // Retrograde

ellipse(c*10,c*10,e*10,e*10); //in 3rds
ellipse(d*10,d*10,f*10,f*10);
ellipse(e*10,e*10,g*10,g*10);
ellipse(a*10,a*10,c*10,c*10);}

void mouseClicked()

{noLoop();

//A Minor

background(a*10,c*10,e*10); //chord i amin
fill(d*10,f*10,a*10); //chord iv
stroke(e*10,g*10,b*10); //chord v

quad(a*50,b*50,c*50,d*50,e*50,fs*50,gs*50,a*50); //Melodic Minor
bezier(a*50,g*50,f*50,e*50,d*50,c*50,b*50,a*50); //Natural Minor descending

ellipse(a*10,a*10,c*10,c*10); //Harmonic Minor in 3rds
ellipse(b*10,b*10,d*10,d*10);
ellipse(c*10,c*10,e*10,e*10);
ellipse(f*10,f*10,a*10,a*10); }

————————————————————————————————-

 

the problem is the no loop function seems to be making the mouseClicked function work but then it gets stuck after the second sketch.

 

I would like to try and make the programme go in a loop around the full circle of fifths.

 

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Tiny Datum 1

For my creative digital media project I have decided to convert the musical scale into a set of tiny data which will shape a visual piece that I am going to create in processing.

I have begun by assigning each note to a number (1-17), and exploring the various ways in which the numbers can be used to shape elements of the sketch (shape, position, colour etc.)

I found that it is very time consuming working each scale out individually, so I have used global variables to rename each number for the note that is, allowing me to type out the scale that I am

using rather than working out each pattern of numbers. This also allows me to set the scale of my shapes more easily. eg.

 

 

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