Information File - Tactile Structures

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PART 1 - The National Theatre and Southbank complex

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This is a particularly effective image I took at the Southbank centre – it s incredibly simple; a series of lines and shades of grey, yet as a final image it looks quite complex.  Perhaps a pleat design could be used to replicate the stairs in fabric or paper form.  What I am most drawn to however is the curved banister, as the Brutalist style is more commonly associated with straight lines, sharp angles and block, linear shapes. 

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Although a much more contemporary addition, this part of the National Theatre site complements the Brutalist architecture of the main site while also standing out from the grey concrete landscape.  The colour is particularly striking, and one that I would perhaps adopt to develop a collection.  The yellow construction fencing really appealed to me, as it creates the grated texture through a grid pattern of lines; something that could easily be replicate through lines of stitching for example.  Again however, the curved nature of the building shown in the top right corner of the image on the right drew me because of my association of the Brutalist style with straight and sharp lines. 

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PART 3 – 'ACTION COLLAGE'

Working in groups we were told to create observational collages using materials we owned.  I found this interesting as we were often forced to use colours we would not usually associate with the landscape to create the shapes we wanted.  As we had to choose a colour palette for the final collection, this was a good exercise to trial different combinations.  

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From life, the collages appeared to be messes of objects, however started to take form when seen through a photograph.  The masking tape grid is particularly effective in communicating the design of the high rise flats, despite being an incredibly simple technique. 

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PART  5 – Developing Constructions

(Acetate and sewing with wire).  Here I found the use of acetate and wire to be very interesting, however not when put together in the way I had done here.  I had wanted to create both a texture and structure simultaneously, yet this made me realise that I should focus on one above the other.  The effect of both here appeared thoughtless rather than carefully considered and relating to Brutalist architecture. 

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I much preferred this sample, creating cubes that sat within a wire frame. This was a much more structural  piece, and in my opinion a much more successful one also.  The way that a three dimensional  shape could grow out of a flat wire grid worked very well; merging ideas of the flat and the 3D.

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I had not wanted to rule out textural samples entirely at this early stage of the project, and so took my successful structural sample, and placed it over a textural muslin piece I had created through pulling threads in a grid shape to pucker the surface.  I did find this a successful experiment also, particularly when photographed like this, capturing the shadows cast by the structure. 

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PART 7 – FINAL COLLECTION

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Taking ideas of the mobius strip forward, I developed a collection using orange, yellow and more neutral copper, brown and beige tones.   Folding each piece in a different way, I was able to create multifaceted objects that appeared simple, yet were in fact quite geometrically complex.   The collection was created from a mix of 2D and 3D samples, however I preferred the three dimensional ones as final outcomes, as I felt they communicated my Brutalist inspiration and impossible shape research more successfully.  The flatter ones were created more from the three dimensional pieces. 

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PART 9 – BARBICAN PHOTOSHOOT

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The sample photographed here was made orange using heat transfer paper, meaning the colour was spread unevenly.  Because of this I wanted to experiment placing this in darker areas of the Barbican, playing with the light areas, as the lighter areas of the sample would appear illuminated, when in fact no light source would be placed at that angle.   I am very pleased with these photographs, as the gradient of colour in the sample works very well with the gradated light, and the curved shape looks alien against the flat concrete background.  However, the fact that it is trapped behind the pipe work makes it look almost as if it is growing out of the wall; a simultaneously natural and unnatural part of the scene. 

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I wanted to apply this idea to more of my samples, and took this photograph trying to disguise the bizarre shapes into the pipe work and walls.  If it weren’t for the bright colour of the acetate, the sample would be invisible here, as the shape is entirely obscured by the existing pipes. Intertwining the samples with parts of the scene that inspired it was a very effective means of seeing the collection in a new way. 

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I wanted a selection of photographs that compared the samples to the larger Barbican scene however, and chose an angle that allowed the high rise buildings to be visible in the background.  The second photograph works well with the natural light of the scene, as the triangular top surface is really the only one that highlighted.  The shape appears to be yet another entirely different shape as a result. 

The wire samples are far more subtle than the others, and I wanted them to get lost in the linear structures of the background.  You have to look hard before the sample becomes a separate part of the photograph from  the background, as the two merge quite successfully. 

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PART 2 – The Barbican

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The layers in this image are incredible, almost resembling Escher’s impossible structures or a surrealist painting.  The height as well could translate into a smaller sculpture or surface design by layering textures and building up elements of a flatter piece.  I think it is also very interesting when viewed next to the Southbank stairs photograph, as a similar step design appears on the stairs and the high rise flats.  

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The stairs and high rise flats once again shown together - I would definitely like to explore this layering effect through three-dimensional samples and textile manpulation.

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Considering the project brief ‘TACTILE STRUCTURES’, I was keen to explore texture so that I may understand alternative wants to make the structures/ pieces I produced TACTILE.  The Barbican was an excellent place to notice both texture and shape. 

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Looking at the textured surfaces at the Barbican to inspire surface designs as well as structures and shapes.  The pebble-dash effect could be recreated by pulling threads from fabric in a grid pattern to create a raised texture or through bubbling.  I took rubbings of these walls at the Barbican to see the effect they produced.  Despite the rounded appearance, the rubbings showed very sharp lines that could be translated into geometric print designs.  

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WALEAD BESHTY - THE CURVE, BARBICAN

A Partial Disassembling of an Invention Without a Future: Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in Which the Pulleys and Cogwheels Are Lying Around at Random All Over the Workbench sees the London-born, Los Angeles-based artist Walead Beshty transform the Curve by covering the wall of the gallery from floor to ceiling with more than 12,000 cyanotype prints. 

Each cyanotype (a photographic print with a cyan-blue tint) is produced using an object from the artist’s studio, which is placed on a porous surface (such as discarded paper or cardboard) that has been coated with UV-sensitive material. After being exposed to sunlight, the object’s silhouette appears against a cyan-blue background. 

The installation presents the cyanotypes in order, to form a visual timeline, beginning with those created in October 2013 in Los Angeles, and ending with work created in London by Beshty over this summer, using materials from the Barbican during his month-long residency in September 2014. 

http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=16302

When viewed abstractly, the square prints by Beshty resemble the grid patterns that I had been working with previously.  The fact that they do not quite match up however is an interesting idea, relating back to the surrealist art I thought about when reviewing my Barbican photographs.  Perhaps the creation of a nonsensical or impossible shape would work well here.  

 

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 ‘ESCHER FOR REAL’ – images of the artists impossible structures transferred into three dimensional sculpture. 

http://www.cs.technion.ac.il/~gershon/EscherForReal/

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http://math.unifr.ch/figs/topology.jpg

MAX BILL sculpture using the concept of the ‘mobius strip’, a shape with only one side.  These pieces are extremely simple but incredibly beautiful also. During experimenting with my materials I had folded and curved acetate into a bizarre shape and secured at one point only.  This resulted in an almost effortless appearance to them,  as well as a shape not dissimilar to the mobius ring.  I would definitely like to further experiment with this.

 

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The Bichos represent the last stage of Lygia Clarks's geometric research that, since the 1950s, had been involved with a systematic deconstruction of traditional painting into its key elements: line, plane, and surface. These components were crucial to the Neo-Concrete movement she developed with Hélio Oiticica, Willys de Castro, Hércules Barsotti, and others in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In Neo-Concretismo, the object itself is progressively negated, in favor of the the body and the community, by and large, as kernels of a happening, a rite, or an action. The artist named them Bichos because of their fundamentally organic character. In addition, the hinge that connects the planes reminded the artist of a spinal column. More important, the Bicho has no reverse, no other side. The layout of the metal planes determines the position of the "critter," which at first sight seems limitless. Here, 10 semicircles and 13 triangles connect by hinges in order for the object to take on various shapes.

http://www.mfah.org/art/detail/bicho-maquina-critter-machine/

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PART 8 – ALTERNATIVE COLLECTIONS

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When photographing my final collection, I angled different sides towards the camera so that alternative views were visible.   The result was that in many cases, the series of photographs resemble collections in themselves, each view showing an entirely different shape.  I find the versatility of this fascinating, as if it were translated into a fashion piece for example, it would mean that the garment would appear completely different as the wearer moved. 

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It could also mean that the same structure could be created multiple times, and each one placed in a different way on a different part of the body.  While technically only one shape would have been used, each angle would focus on a different silhouette, giving the illusion of many different shapes. 

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These structures made from copper wire (BELOW)  are interesting, as they can be combined to create one structure, or separated into three simpler ones.  They could also be used in relation to other samples, making this an incredibly versatile concept.

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PART 10 – ON THE BODY

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From handling the samples I began to notice how the body could interact with them, particularly the hands, given the size of the collection against the human body.  They would offer a very interesting component piece of a garment, or in many cases a complete jewellery or accessory design.  I would however like to scale up these samples, so that I can experiment with them as entire pieces.  I will therefore prepare some illustrations to trial these ideas. 

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