Wednesday, 21 May 2014

'In The Window' Precipitation by (h)edge keletiv

(h)edge kelektives'In The Window' Experience and Insights

Michelle Rheeston- Humphreys:
Artist and 'In The Window' Programme Manager

Loosely based on the notion of wonder Precipitation explores narratives of future rituals. The eclectic narrative of this piece delves into mythology and ritual, as well as, the transformational physical environment in both the natural and human world; it imagines a future where current forecasts come to pass - in an almost Bosch like vision with a wistful and hopeful slant. Critically, the underlying violence often represented in damnation and post-apocalyptic stories are here, rendered as sorrow evoked by the metaphor of rain; this sense of sadness however, twists itself into something full of the potential of change, and the possibility of a journey into new worlds. Like rain, this state of bewilderment, creates a new space out of which wonder, playfulness and invention emerge.

We wanted to test a new method of working for (h)edge kelectiv, which we thought might work in the particularity of the window space. We employed narrative scenography, using a variety of ready-mades, staging materials and drawing (none of which were particularly new). This was in order to project cast shadow and atmospheric/ ethereal light scenes (which were new). We used a range of pretty familiar materials (painted ready-mades, organic/natural objects and manmade objects, fabrics, plastics, glass vessels, water, china graph on glass, boards, lighting) but in a more orchestrated manner; setting a narrative scene, which suited the space
perfectly – a window to another world- a stage.

We felt that the abundance of light in the space could potentially refract through the water and glass; and that strong light would cast and project shadows of the scene, onto the back of the space during the day. During the night the lighting we installed would work in the same way- giving the same effect. However the cast light and shadow projections we wanted to test, did not work the way we had hope/envisaged, within the space. It had however worked outside in strong sunlight, so we will need to test this further in different light controlled spaces. Although the element we wanted to test was not achieved within this exhibition there was a number of successes, the most notable is that, the work received curiosity from its audience; invoking a sense of curiosity and wonder is an intention of our practice and a strong research interest for (h)edge kelektiv.

Working collaboratively in the window can be difficult ‘space’ wise, negotiating each other and the work; particularly with precocious artworks, which in our case relied on hanging, balance and specific positioning. This precociousness was heighten by being surrounded by glass on 3 sides. However whilst working in the window it can be very useful to work with someone to pass equipment etc into the space and go outside to look into the space to check positioning etc.

There are in many benefits of producing and installing artwork in this space; it is unique both physically and conceptually, it is light, it has 24 hours viewing, it is in the public realm, it has a high footfall and has a strong performative element and it is situated in a nationally renowned artist-led contemporary art gallery. There are also considerations for making and displaying artwork in the space; it can get very hot -like a green house whilst working. It can be difficult to negotiate (physically), with certain types of art forms within the restrictions of the space. It is high so ladders are often needed according to the work. It can also be difficult to keep the space clean and white. Furthermore you are constantly on view whilst working by the passing public.

And that said…. a site visit to the window is strongly advised to appreciate and experience the unique space and in turn fully consider it for your proposal.
Consideration needs be given to being on view to the public, at all times whilst installing/ working in the space. I consider this performative element of the space one its key facets. Consideration of heat and temperature changes, whilst working in the space is advised- perishables are again not advised for this reason (wax/ food stuffs etc). Screen based work struggles in the space during the day (in strong sunlight) so is unadvised- serious consideration would need to be given to resolve this. Consideration the central window section is prudent, as there is no central view space form outside of the window; rather there are two windows either side of the central stone divide- this needs to be considered. Careful planning on how long it will take to install and de-install is needed.

Dr. Katrinka Wilson:

I was delighted to be involved in this program, I think it’s a great space that offered us a chance to (carefully) experiment with new ideas and also to review and refine some more established aspects of our practice.

The space presented an unusually, unmediated starting point: the walls are white, the area has a sealed, cut-off quality and the window itself acts as a frame, isolating the work from the surrounding context, in a way that enabled us to view and review the work (relatively) objectively; in this sense it was a great place to develop work.

Conversely, it is also a relational, interactive site that can feel like a stage so the installation process had the sense of a performance; while the piece we made took on some of the qualities of a set, with drapes as a backdrop and a landscape populated with tiny insect actors. This quality of the auditorium really suited our practise, which is effectively, a discreet performance involving making little theatres of curiosity.

The window is pure liminality: a threshold space between inside and outside that traps the changing light, shadows and reflections between the walls and the glass. I love working in windows.