Saturday, 24 March 2012

Titanic Part 4

By now, I felt I was well into my stride but felt something more could be done to visually represent all the nations of those who died.

Using many web sites, I was able to get as close a representation as possible, to what each countries flag would/might have looked like in 1912.  Working out what size I wanted my finished project to be, I replicated the required amount of flags in various subtle hues of the same colour to give a photo mosaic program, enough flags to work with.

The original photograph of Titanic came from here

Eventually, with much manipulation, the following picture represented a near finished product, ready to be sent off to specialist printers:
I asked them to print on silver paper before laminating and this was the end result:
It doesn't much look here, but on show in our dining room, it glints and shimmers, changing and reflecting different colours as the sun moves around the room!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Titanic Part 3

I thought long and hard about the Morse code messages that were being sent during the sinking. The message CQD, CQD (Come Quick Distress) this is Titanic, was repeated over and over for as long as possible. I wanted to create a piece of work which, with artistic licence, reflected this distress message, travelling through space.

Radio waves can be heard in space, how far away I didn't know at the time of making this piece. I have however now found this web site, which provides many answers to any questions you might have about such a concept:

This was to be part of my printmaking module and I wanted to produce work that was different. The technician kindly cut out of zinc, lots of 'dots and dashes'. In effect, these measured 1” x 1” (dot) and 2” x 1” (dash).

Whether you survive a disaster like this depends on many things, primarily getting to a boat and keeping warm. However, as I have previously said, it is not the survivors I am interested in but the victims. Many ended up in the water with and without life-jackets. Most would have died of hypothermia/injury. Those in life-jackets would have floated but the rest would have eventually sunk.

By dipping each of my zinc pieces into acid for varying lengths of time (judged by eye rather than time), I was able to obtain different etchings on the metal. Lightly etched was to reflect those in life-jackets/on floating debris, who may have stood a chance had they been rescued quickly. The darker etched pieces were for those unfortunates who died via injury, drowning or just got tired of swimming.

Using 5 pieces of mirrored tile a box with a re-enforced base was created. The base had the Morse code message zinc plates glued on. These plates contained a mixture of light and darker etched pieces. The 4 sides were gradually attached.

You can already begin to see the effect. Once the final side was in place, if you hunkered down to just level with the top and looked inside, this radiating message appearance was visible - camera notwithstanding!

The outside of the box was painted with several coats of silver metallic paint to give it the appearance of a more solid object - resembling in some ways, the modern equivalent of the 'black' box more commonly seen today.

Here it is on display.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Titanic Part 2

For the few days following the sinking, ships traversing along the route commented on what appeared to be 'flocks of seagulls in the water in the distance'. It was only as they drew near that they realised it was not seagulls, but the deceased floating in their life-jackets. There were also numerous empty life-jackets floating in amongst them.

Wanting to remember the victims of this disaster, the eloquence of such a statement again stirred something in me. The shape and style of life-jackets then, were completely different to today. The ones aboard Titanic had 4 small and two large oblongs of cork sewn into pockets, both front and back. Whilst cork floats well, the act of jumping into the water whilst wearing one, often resulted in bruised or sometimes fractured jaws!

I used this shape to design and create a 'rag rug' type jacket, similar to the above but with a different slant. Mine would be made from wool which although designed to keep someone worn, would also be waterlogged once wet. In effect, creating an item that might harm you as well as being ineffectual in keeping you alive once in water.

My 'jacket' needed to reflect not only the victims but their varying nationalities. After many weeks, each nations flags were identified relevant to that period in time. The borders were kept plain to reflect the colour and shape of an actual life-jacket. The cork areas would be replaced with individual knots. One knot one victim, in the colours of their nations flags. Here are the front and back photographs.

These next two show the side and inside views.

External comments at marking seemed to indicate that 
a) it looked like a child's cardigan or 
b) it was too pristine, should have been more distressed.

Those comments missed the point. Reading my explanation might have helped. Even though at first glance it could be interpreted as above, my point was that this was neither. It was a memorial, newly created therefore it looked pristine in the same way a new memorial would. If allowed to be exhibited permanently outside, it would in time become distressed.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Titanic Part 1

The second piece of work tackled concerned RMS Titanic. Like many people I was interested in the story and the unnecessary loss of life. These people in particular, many of them children and babies, spoke to me, pleading to be given a mention in the here and now. This 'plea' was to manifest itself in many different ways. 

Although most of the work I produced concerned the 'victims', the sound element was generated from remarks made by some of the survivors.

Allowing for the hours they were in the lifeboats, many spoke of how bright the stars were in the black velvet sky. To help pass the time, some endeavoured to find and identify the constellations.

I found which constellations were visible in the northern hemisphere in April 1912, looking from the west, up to the north and to the east. The pattern they created gave me my music. Not being a musician is where my working pattern takes a long and winding rode.

To begin with, a large piece of lino was drawn on (constellations reversed to print correctly) then each star drilled out to give an indentation.

As drilling progressed, an interesting look emerged. In the end, a print was not taken from the lino as the ink would have obliterated the pattern. Unfortunately, I can't find the end photograph - sorry.

For this lino to be useful, photographs had to be taken of it (reversed again to get them in the correct formation). Then each star was plotted onto an excel spread sheet before being transferred into my music programme, note by note.

Here you can see one of these designs, constellation lines marked in and errors being highlighted ready for correction. For now, on this particular element I have to stop. I have viewed the video/slide show I originally created and its condition is quite poor for some reason. Until I can create a new one, I'll show you some more of the work created for Titanic.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Clock Patience - The video!

For those of you I know who have been patiently waiting to see the very first sound work I created from data, here it is.

This was produced 4 years ago now and things slowly but surely got better.

Well, providing it all works okay, I hope you like it. If not, I hope you find the concept interesting.