Geranium Project (R&D) – December Open Event

‘Geranium’ 02/12/2019

Introduction

‘Geranium’ began as a room, approximately 5mtrs by 4mtrs, that depicted a garden as a drawing and by projection onto one wall. The audience can explore the drawn surfaces which include text and interactive elements, watch the filmed garden where shadows drift across the lawn suggesting people, and listen to the birdsong and poetry playing in the space. It has turned into a more confined space that channels you towards and through the projection into a Virtual world.

The Geranium Project:

There is a purple or pink flower with five petals, it has long palmately cleft leaves that are broadly circular. Drifts of these used to grow in my mother’s garden and in my own garden now, and I’ve always loved them. For a long time I’ve had a blind spot about the name, when I see the flowers I’m suddenly at a loss but when I can’t see them I can remember. It has reached the point where my wife refuses to tell me what they’re called. This is why the project is called geranium, after this lethologica (an inability to remember a particular word) I’ve suffered from for a number of years. I have wanted to create a space that tells a story since I completed my MA in 2005 and became fascinated with non linear narratives or stories that can be navigated by the audience. My intention is that encountering this space, listening to the poems and hearing snatches of the narrative offers one or two clues that can be explored through an online space or using virtual reality. I see the project as an opportunity to find out how to best present the idea to an audience and to use that initial audience to help refine the experience so that it becomes coherent and strong enough for exhibition.

The Geranium Project (R&D) 22

After a desultory effort at last weeks blog due to a truncated week this week was better focused and, eventually, more productive.

This is a better photograph of the drawing begun last week, I’m hoping to be able to interpret this into a 3d model for the hedges in one of the garden versions. The main thrust of the week was developing the interior of the installation upstairs while preparing for an event in mid December where the new installation and the VR need to be presented.

I spent Monday doing some work on the drawing and installing the projector for the new installation. I’ve raised the height to limit the shadows now that I’m not having the revealed texts, and need to limit the width of the projection to the eight foot square backcloth that you will be able to walk through. Doing this on a shoestring means that I’ve used a drip cover I had as the projection screen, after testing I’ve had to paint the centre of it white so that the video shows up better. The next stage is to limit the space, making the environment more oppresive and confining. This will limit the audience to two or three at a time, but that will (may) allow for the ‘player’ to leave the installation and enter the VR world.

Alongside this we had a heavy frost on Tuesday so I took the opportunity to photgraph the garden and on Wednesday I adjusted the VR to make the frost garden. The two pictures below show scenes from within the ‘frost garden’ in VR.

colour adjusted garden

Frost Garden in VR (the ground is icy now)

On Friday I worked on the installation, using the ‘Snow Line’ scultpure to build up one side of the installation.

Composite views of the new installation

Lit view of the new installation

Lit view of the new installation

The installation is taking shape now and I’ve created a couple of niches where some interactive elements will be installed – I need to introduce some lighting and at a low level and the sound needs significant work.

The Geranium Project (R&D) 10

After a week off and installing the computer and VR kit at the studio this week was back to it.

Kit in Studio

The kit has to be packed away securely each day, which takes about 30 minutes, as the studio is in a high burglary area.

So far I’ve got an animation working thanks to Luke, one of my assistants, and I resolved the teleporting issues I’d had while the kit was at home.

I keep thinking this doesn’t seem to amount to much for all the time I’ve had but then a visitor tries it out and I’m reassured that it appears to be impressive. There is an advantage in using an uncommon technology but there is also the problem that the work becomes about the technology or that the technology dominates the idea.

I’m simultaneously disappointed that I’m not further ahead and pleased with the progress I’ve made, not that that makes much sense.

 

The Geranium Project (R&D) 08

This week was supposed to be when I moved the VR into the space. Best laid plans and all that. I still need to sort out the internet for the studio and that’s delayed me for a week at the least. Life has intervened in other ways as well so part of the week was spent on the phone to Virgin Media.

I did get to the studio on Monday, continuing to work on the drawings I started last week,

Large Hydrangea August

Large Hydrangea August

adding some green to the big piece and working into the centre with black pastel and fingers.

One of six drawings made on Monday and Wednesday last week

One of six drawings made on Monday and Wednesday last week

As an example this is the development of the one I posted last week, another one looks like this now…

small hydrangea

small hydrangea

After this I got waylaid by virgin and decided to work on the VR at home for Wednesday and Thursday.

VR installation test

VR installation test

The first test I made works some of the drawings into a model of the installation space. The next two try to work the same drawings into the garden as a whole.

VR garden test

VR garden test

The latest has better materials but I’m still working out the problems with importing scale, establishing movement etc., should all be resolvable but I want to get it into the right ballpark before I bring the experts in.

2nd VR garden test

2nd VR garden test

this image and the next best illustrate the issue with scale

2nd VR garden test

2nd VR garden test

After 3 days away from the studio I continued to work on the large drawing, and did some further work on the small ones, but my major effort was to stretch some more paper on my new drawing boards.

large hydrangea

large hydrangea

small hydrangea

small hydrangea

And the studio looks like this.

Studio mid August

Studio mid August

The Geranium Project (R&D) 07

This week spent mostly working through the ramifications of paying people through the ACE funding. Actually quite easy to sort, and not too onerous a task when you’ve worked it out, but a real pain to find and understand the information through the HMRC website.

I decided I needed to get some greenery into the studio and this prompted a new set of drawings.

Hydrangea

I started a set of six drawings, this is one,

One of six drawings made on Monday and Wednesday

I also ordered some wood to make a large chest for storage – intentionally very heavy.

Large Chest

and started a big drawing…

Large Drawing begun Monday

I’ve worked further on this on Friday but the process is quite slow as the layers are added and I’m entirely unsure about the colours.

Progress on big drawing

This may well be torn up eventually. This week is a hiatus before the work on the VR component begins in earnest.

NEW STUDIO Week Sixteen

This will be the last general post under the new studio banner. It’s not that I’m stopping anything, it’s because I was awarded a grant by Arts Council England to develop the Geranium project. So from next week I’ll be posting Geranium Project 01 and should run up to GP40 by the end of the funding period.

fourdrawingscolour_blog

On Monday 3rd June I worked on four drawings that I began last week, working them together towards a larger drawing that I’d stretched paper for. The drawing process is still build up, break down, build back up. I enjoy the prospect of working to correct as the drawing retains some of the character of the erroneous marks when it’s corrected.

fourdrawingstranslation_blog

fourdrawingstranslation_blog

This is the translation to a unified whole, which is far too twee – I think that’s the word – and required some dissolution and retrieval. I dripped very thin black paint over it, took it off with more paper, dripped white paint over it that I allowed to dry and then worked over that with white conté.

ourdrawingstranslation_further_blog

This is where it was at when I had to stop for the day. The reds have had more pastel applied and the central block has been worked over with more charcoal.

Wednesday 5th June I went in to the studio to find there was leak, I traced it up through three floors to the roof, it damaged a sketchbook.

dripdrysketchbook_blog

This is the sketchbook drip dried through the morning, before I had to split it up to dry in the afternoon.

sketchbookdryout_blog

I concentrated on six drawings I had started on Monday by ‘mono printing’ off the big drawing.

sixdrawings_0506_blog

Obviously these are still in progress. I then did a little work on the big drawing.

junedrawing_blog

Friday was a day full of visits again, potential building purchasers, artists looking for studio space and collaborators for the Geranium Project.

In between these and talking to builders and property agents I managed to take down the installation so that I can re-paint and reconfigure it.

installation_blog

installation2_blog

I also managed to work on two drawings from yesterday.

 

blackdrawing_blog

bluedrawing_blog

So this weekend will be spent working out the schedule for the Geranium Project.

 

NEW STUDIO Week Fifteen

Another late post – I need to sharpen up a bit.

I made a series of test videos and tried them out in the space, last weeks caveats apply to the finishes.

The time it takes to render the models is horrendous with my equipment so I need to invest in some better kit.

I was only in the studio for two days because of a meeting and started some drawing and stretched some paper.

In between time I started a painting based on one of the attic drawings.

garden painting May 2019

All in all a bit of a week to forget.

 

NEW STUDIO Week Fourteen

Continuing with drawing this week, and having to concentrate on the 3d model because of the poorly cat.

six new drawings started

On Monday I started six new drawings, these had white emulsion painted on the 17th (Friday) and were added to on Monday.

Garden Drawing 20/05/19

Also began this drawing on four sheets of A1 cartridge. It harks back, as I realised afterwards, to the ladybird drawings I did an age ago –

http://www.ian-latham.com/blog/2015/08/08/ladybird/

http://www.ian-latham.com/blog/2015/08/15/ladybird-2/

http://www.ian-latham.com/blog/2015/11/28/ladybird-2-finished-in-so-far-as/

All of these drawings are trying to find a way to realise the 3d model as projection and environment for the installation.

sketch notes 20/05/19

I thought it was worth including a picture of a sketchbook page with reflections of the day’s activities. I often write in the sketchbook or my diary to record the way I’m thinking, not really to hold on to it but more to be able to see how my thinking has changed through the process.

drawings continued

On Wednesday I continued working on the drawings from Monday, for some reason I didn’t photograph one of them and I can’t remember why. Wednesday was split up by a visit to a potential new studio in the morning, it has twenty rooms including a small hall/gym and a roof terrace and is just around the corner from where I am now. In the afternoon I had a visit from the architects for the potential buyers who spent two hours measuring for drawings so I’m on borrowed time at the minute.

Wednesday Sketchbook

I started to pick up the elements from the six drawings in the sketchbook and then developed three new ones from the bottom right sketch.

three new drawings

On Friday, as I couldn’t get in to the studio I made a model of the middle drawing.

There are also two new garden videos ready for project with a more robust model integrated as a walkthrough but I’m dissatisfied with the experience as it lacks the quality of the drawings.

NEW STUDIO Week Thirteen

A late blog after what seems like something of a hiatus. The visit by the contractors last week reminded me of the fragility of my tenure in the space, which made me look at how much stuff I’d generated in it and almost overwhelmed me with the prospect of moving it. At the back of my mind the ‘big skip’ solution, exercised a good many times over the years.

four drawings 130519

four more drawings 130519

I completed some of the drawings begun last week, and continued working with others.

six drawings in progress 130519

On Tuesday I split my time in the garden at home and the attic studio.

Garden 14th May 2019

A set of colour sketches accompanies this piece.

colour sketch 14th May

There are also the set of drawings started last week, that can be seen in this gallery.

Garden Drawings May 2019

On Wednesday I was back in the shop continuing with the drawings.

gardensketch_1_15519

gardensketch_2_15519

gardensketch_3_15519

gardensketch_4_15519

Completing these drawings and beginning to re-interpret these into the sketchbook towards a 3d model.

sketchbook_2_blog

sketchbook_3_blog

sketchbook_blog

Friday was a truncated day, after more modelling, working on new drawings (prep only) and sketches.

sketchbook170519_blog

NEW STUDIO Week Twelve

NEW STUDIO Week Twelve

Coming to the end of three months in the shop, and looking like the end might be near – A contractor is looking around the property on Monday. It’s time to take stock of progress and in particular to examine where I am as an artist after retirement.

The shop looks like a gallery and I’ve had a few visitors, enough to mean I need to order some new cards, that have been very complementary. On the other hand I’m a six foot skinhead in overalls and steel toecaps so who wouldn’t be. Nothing is translating to sales but that’s never been the purpose, I don’t have a catalogue or pricelist (add to the to-do list) and the shop signage as yet is tiny. I’m in that mid grant application limbo where my intellectual energies are pointing me at things I can’t develop lest I start the thing I’ve applied for funding for and thus invalidate my application. It remains inordinately difficult to apply for funding as a practice led artist as you don’t know what you’re going to do until you do it. The ‘studio’ space of the shop looks like it’s working, plenty of space and I’m continually refining the way I use it.

As well as tidying up and maintaining equipment I started this week working on the computer – I’ll write a separate post to describe that work – and continued in the sketchbook on Wednesday.

Sketchbook images from 8th May

Sketchbook images from 8th May

I came up with a brief catalogue introduction for the Ptolemy’s Garden, work in progress exhibition.

Ptolemy’s Garden is a set of drawings and sculptures made from old flooring and drawings of gardens where I’ve buried cats over the last thirty years. Ptolemy walked down the garden one day as a kitten and stayed for a few years. He is buried here in these works as much he’s buried in Balby alongside Kelpie and Coco, or in Warmsworth next to Pliskie and Poppy, or in Sherburn in Elmet next to Polly.

I use the materials I find, ideally I like waste material that has had a previous life and breaks unpredictably. The material stops me from over directing the sculptures as the process grows towards resolution.

I collect the detritus of living, scraps randomly encountered, reflecting the memories I carry. I ascribe my deepest feelings to insignificant mementos and nostalgia orchestrates my future and my present.

Thursday I couldn’t face another day frustrated at the computer so I did some drawing, starting a set of collages from old sculpture sketches.

Nine A1 collages

Nine A1 collages May 2019

There are ten started, an individual one is below.

Thursday Collage in progress

Thursday collage in progress

On Friday I continued drawing, in the sketchbook again, then on A1 sheets.

Friday Sketchbook

Friday Sketchbook

 

Three drawings in progress

another three drawings in progress

yet another three drawings in progress

And finally did a small amount on the big garden drawing.

Large Garden May 2019