This was my first art show. I’ve been involved in art before, from creating multi-colored shoes, to taking photographs, but this was the first time that my work has been considered in a format like a gallery. For this exhibition, entitled Rules and Play, I showcased two pieces. The first was a short Twine game entitled the Lexington Phenomena and the other was a color changing LED textile experience called “dream a bit bigger darling.”
Most of the work leading up to the exhibition was for “dream a bit bigger darling” (dbbd). In the original drafts of the exhibit, dbbd was going to be 10 foot by 10 foot, the kind of installation that a room is built around. It was inspired by a particularly lovely red piece made from similar materials that I saw exhibited at the Rasdall Gallery on UK’s campus but pushed to what felt to me like the next logical conclusion — it was going to change color when you interacted with it.
Very quickly I found that 10×10 was not going to be feasible. The work required to make even a small segment was going to be too much. Additionally, I wanted people to interact with the exhibit where I thought would be best — so, from the ground. I couldn’t imagine actually convincing people to lay on the ground without some sort of comfy pillow. The second draft is the one that I hope someday the piece will look like. This is my visualization:
My art-ing skills (at least in technical illustrations) are not the strongest, but the basic idea was for a chicken wire structure on which a series of varied length strands of flagging tape hung. The whole structure would be held up by four wooden pylons and below that would be a mattress. This mattress eventually became the inspiration for the name of the piece, which I wanted to be meditative and dreamlike. Dbbd was meant to be something that you could spend long periods of time laying under and enjoying. I wasn’t sure at this juncture how to light the thing, just that I wanted it to change color throughout the experience.
Changing color was definitely the hardest part of the installation. Estimates for how to do this included everything from a range finder, to webcams, to a Kinect, small copper wires that would hang down the installation and respond to circuits being completed and finally a microphone. The entire process proved to be quite fascinating and could not have been accomplished without the express help of Matt Hudgins and Shea Rembold.
At least we think it’s a microphone:
Additionally further downsizing was required before the final exhibition, with the exhibit eventually only reaching a size of 2ftx2.5ft. This proved to be a good number, as it allowed people to experience it and will work as a proof of concept if I decide to make the exhibit larger.
The final exhibit was quite lovely, and while it looked a bit like a broken down chandelier it held up remarkably well over the course of the five or so hours that people were directly interacting with it.
My future plans are to adapt the exhibit to reach it’s final stage — the 6ft by 6ft 8in structure over a queen sized mattress that will allow the user to lay under it and experience the total package.