Proposals

 

REFLECTION Heston Library Exhibition Project

Proposal Mirror-books Participatory Installation

The proposed project is an interactive art installation that will be based on the framework of a sculptural assemblage constructed out of recycled bookshelves (see sketch bellow for reference). The assemblage will be site-specific and it will be constructed out of attachable modules (making it easy to transport in a minivan) and its size will be adapted to the given space of each location.

The size of the assemblage can be changed according to the given space it will adapt to, but in principle, it should be only slightly taller than the average human scale, in order to allow the public to easily interact with it. After its construction, the sculptural shelves will be filled with books made entirely out of reflective sheets (either reflective card or reflective film or acrylic sheets). Thus, all the books in the bookshelf-assemblage will be symbolical mirrors. In fact, the assemblage itself is a constructed symbolical mirror reflecting, through the choice of materials used (bookshelves) the familiar environment of the libraries, with their typical furniture of shelves and books.

The book-mirrors will be a metaphor of the reflection, and self-reflection that literature and art can provide. One of the inspirations is Umberto Eco’s open artwork theory (opera aperta) about the literary text, which is always only partially created by the writer, and needs the reader to actively complete in its creation. The action of co-creating the artwork is at the same time one of reflection, the participant projecting his or her personal experiences, personality and memories in this process.

There will also be an interactive part of the installation, consisting of filling the mirror-books with texts or images, mainly though a series of artist-led workshops and sessions, but also with the possibility of visitors openly adding to the artwork throughout its display.

The workshops will consist in two types of activities, one of painting on the reflective surfaces, and the other of creative writing, with texts attached to or written on the mirror-books.

In the painting workshops, participants will be encouraged to either reflect their surroundings or themselves. Thus, they will paint on the reflective surfaces either images they prefer from their Hounslow neighborhood or the direct environment they are in at the location of the installation in one of the Hounslow libraries. Another set of workshops will be one of self-portraiture or portrait-painting and the artist will offer  guidelines and instructions in different portraiture techniques, portraits being painted on or attached to the reflective surfaces of the mirror-books.

In the story-telling creative writing workshops, led in collaboration with a theatre director, the participants will be invited to tell their stories, encouraging the local oral history and unique stories from their rich ethnical background to be recorded.

A sound recording component will be available for people with various movement or sight disabilities, and the recordings will be attached to the mirror-books in the installation, allowing the participants and visitors to listen, on attached speakers, to some of the stories told.

A combination of image and text can be encouraged in some of the storytelling workshops, thus, the reflective books also containing drawings to convey their stories.

Instructions and materials will be provided for participants to openly add the type of image or text they prefer to the mirror-books.

Thus, the reflective installation will become a privileged space for participants to creatively share their lives, themselves and their experiences, the mirror-books becoming a living archive of the local Heston and Hounslow Borough communities and a fragmentary mirror of their present reality.

Regarding the use of recycled bookshelves, there is either a possibility of initiating a campaign inviting the local residents to donate specific furniture items appropriate for the installation that they wish to recycle, or that of coordinating a collection journey in the Hounslow area, with the help of volunteers from the collaborating group Environmental and Social Change.

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Labyrinth Sky-Chart Installation

 

The labyrinth has been used as a symbol of the cosmos in various cultures, ever since ancient times and it often also took the shape of constellations, becoming a metaphorical and often ritually experienced sky-chart. The proposed installation will be a seven-course labyrinth based on the structure of the Ursa Major. It will be constructed out of semi-transparent cloth sustained by pillars and its structure will be that of seven concentric circles with passage ways between each other. Large circular lamps will be placed in the representing position of the Ursa Major lights and several projectors will be used in front of each cloth wall, showing collaged moving images created out of representations of the cosmos and found associated images and paintings created especially for this project. Thus, the projections will transform the circular walls into pulsating screens of colourful light. The participants walking through the labyrinth will also project their shadows over the cinematic walls, the interaction creating a living shadow theater that will interfere with the projected images and create spontaneous new compositions. In the centre of the labyrinth there will be a ladder on top of which a constructed sculptural chandelier will be attached, containing a large lamp and seven circular mirrors mimicking again the structure of Ursa Major. The images of the projections will also find a moving reflection of the mirror-chandelier hanging above, creating a moving sight and pointing towards the sky, whose symbolical mirror the structure has become. The structure represents an altered, circular space that could potentially also change one’s perception of time. The imagery displayed in the collaged projections created will contain various associations of the researched labyrinthine structures, from labyrinth-like paths designed as ancient images of heaven to modern representations and recent meanings, such as that found in the imagery created by the magic realism of  Jorge Luis Borges’ fiction (‘I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars.)’

 

Technical Description

The labyrinth installation will be set up using self-standing, supported wooden pillars that will sustain the cloth of the circular concentric walls. The walls will be approx. 170 cm tall, about the average height of a person. The structure could be made to fit either a smaller space, of approx. 5 x 5m, or could be enlarged to fit a bigger one, of 10 x 15m. In a smaller structure there will be at least one projector and one lamp for each circular wall, alternating the areas that are lit from one circle to the next. There will be a much larger lamp attached on the top of the central ladder, and lighting the structure from above, as well as a chandelier-like structure with hanging circular mirrors, that will create a play of light and reflection from above. A good connection to a source of electricity will be needed in order for the installation to function. All the electrical equipment that will be part of the installation will be tested and rated IP44 or better. If a lager structure is constructed, a much larger number of projectors will be installed for each circular wall, at least four projections on the larger circular walls, and different collaged painterly video or static imagery will be created for each projection.

Images of the installation

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Technical diagram of the workIMG_0208.jpg-mod