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.

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