Space Construction // Big Brother

Updated: Jun 6, 2019

Since my early versions of my final space idea, the concept of having some CCTV, Orwell's big brother style link to my work has been high on my list of priorities. This has however, been an ongoing struggle. Initially the intention was for the camera to be directly above the space - this would hopefully be discrete enough for the viewer to engage with the physical space without acting oddly, unknowing that they were on surveillance. Additionally, it would then reveal further around the exhibition that the structure is in fact somewhat reminiscent of a particular 'f' that we are all aware of; the Facebook logo.

However, due to the height of the work, not knowing whether or not the entire piece would fit within the frame of the camera, and the uncertainty of the structural integrity of the ceiling in the space in which the work is being exhibited, this was sadly dismissed. Further conversations with the appropriate staff, such as Marcus Pierpoint, complicated the process even further and it was believed that using the equipment available within the college, the suited camera would then have to be cabled up to the TV. Again, due to the structural uncertainty of the ceiling, we wouldn't be able to feed the cables across the ceiling and so would then have to feed them via the edge of the building - not impossible, but far from perfect. Whilst Marcus assured me that this was achievable, something I had initially envisioned as quite simple and discrete using a GoPro, or something similar, seemed as though it was potentially getting more complex and in turn, more and more noticeable, than I had initially planned for.

However, after then discussing my ideas with Stephen Legall, he recalled that the art school was in fact in possession of an Apple TV, a streaming media centre that allows one Apple device to connect up to it and in this case, mirror the screen of said device onto the TV, thus using the Apple product to act as a camera. This device is a small piece of equipment which can be plugged into a TV using a HDMI cable and allows for a more reliable connection than simply relying on the WiFi - something particularly important in our building given the exceptionally unreliable internet connection. Whilst it was uncertain of the success of this combination, due to the roaming range of the Apple TV and whether or not the two products could remain in contact for the distance I require, it has been tested multiple times, in both built up spaces and open areas and as of yet, both have proved a success.

The final issue in the equation was the placement. As birds eye view was unachievable, multiple discussions with peers had opened up various options including setting up a wire system between two of the pillars and creating something to install the device within, that hung between the two wires. Initially, I considered this a bit of a faff but potentially the best chance of gaining the height I required. Further conversations with the appropriate technicians made me doubt the feasibility of this idea, the accessibility of the device, and we still encountered the issue of cabling - if the device were to be in this position a power cable would undoubtedly be required. Then, a peer suggested that I attach the device, an iPad, in the far left corner of the tall wall of which Charlottes work will be displayed. This way, I could still gain height with stability, the shape of the structure should still be clearly visible and I would still be able to set the work up in the desired format/position. Whilst the most successful idea yet, I feared this might interfere with Charlottes work, however, she assured me I was fine to go ahead with the prospect. Another concern was that given the height of Charlottes work, the iPad may be more obvious than I had hoped - whilst this is a reality that I still believe to be problematic since the install of the clamp, kindly leant to me for the duration of the show, it is one I have come to accept. Also, since having further group crits after the install of the clamp, peers commented that it seemed disconnected enough from my work that one would potentially not realise the link - a reassuring piece of feedback.

Due to the placement of the pillar, I was able to get David Copping to kindly install an extension lead behind the false wall that sits in front of the window. This can therefore allow me to have a very feasible power cable feed into the iPad for the entirety of the show - meaning that there is no concern of the battery going flat during the show and less work for any invigilators taking care of the show during it's duration.

As I was aware of this concept early in the year, I was able to book out a new TV from Jonathan which has since been installed by Eddie. Whilst initially I had hoped to have my TV right at the exit of the show, the area moving from Fine Art to 3D Design Craft, I had to move it slightly closer to the centre of the show due to the needs of my peers and their works. Initially, I was slightly concerned that this may dilute my idea a little, as people visiting the show might see the two elements (TV and structure) of the work in the wrong order and thus behave less naturally within the space. However, since the show has gradually come together, I think this new placement has worked really well as it doesn't detract from the quite intimate space created by Kayleigh and Iris, and the placement of Shanes work actually entirely wipes the view between my structure and TV - detachment successfully achieved!

This proved a lot more problematic than I had intended but I think that the end result nearly better than I could have hoped for. Whilst the iPad may be slightly more visible than I had hoped, the connection between iPad and TV is much more efficient than any other wireless possibility and also, contextually appropriate.

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