Saturday, 28 March 2009

Project Space

Main Views of the Room

Close Up of the Floor

Details of the Colouring Book Characters "playing" in the "real world"

In Uni we have certain spaces set aside for us to book out so we can try out ideas, stage mini exhibitions, play in etc, they are known as "Project Spaces", last week I hired out one of these spaces so I could try transform it into the inside of my head [actually trying to recreate my thought processes is more accurate]. I've talked before about me learning about death and how I see it as a milestone of my childhood [the end of innocence and entrance into the real world etc], and I've posted photos of the wall in my space where I'd tried all this out by making my own wallpaper. In the Project Space I wanted to expand the idea to cover a whole room [I was initially going to cover the ceiling as well but abandoned the idea when I realized how little time I had to complete the room - I could only book it for a week].
I wanted people to actually have to walk into my idea and confront the transition from childhood [the colouring books] to the real world [the neon pages]. It worked really well [I am biased though] people tended to have similar reactions when they first walked into the room, they immediately wanted to start colouring in the blank colouring book pages, and after they started to adjust to the surroundings [it was quite overwhelming colour wise when you first entered] they began to look closely at the neon pages - which contained pictures of a mushroom cloud, the aftermath of spontaneous combustion, and articles about napalm, Chernobyl and cannibalism [all things I was fascinated by and used to research in encyclopedias as a child] Peoples reactions started to change from happily reminiscing about colouring, to either sadness or pondering my sanity, as they realized that there is a conflict between the two sides of the childhood I'm presenting. After viewing the neon pages people started to realize that some of the colouring books contain pretty questionable imagery themselves and their perceptions of innocence and the horrors of the real world started to change and the boundaries between the two merge. They also began to understand my connections between the colouring books and the content of the neon pages, I was extremely pleased that the majority of people understood the work perfectly without too much explanation, and during a group crit I managed to get some people to talk about their own experiences of learning about death. A common question during the crit was why I'd used bright colours to represent the real world, and blank colouring books for childhood, as most people associate them the other way round [the real world all blank and dull, and childhood as colourful], for me I saw the real world as exciting, and I had a morbid curiosity with things I really shouldn't of known about as an 8 year old, so looking back it makes sense to have the real world colourful and appealing [I'm instantly drawn towards colourful things] and I wanted the childhood element to be 'pure' and innocent, so uncoloured coloured books seemed apt. Another question that was raised was why I'd arranged the pages in a certain order? Well the neon pages follow a pattern to represent the humdrum aspect of the real world [repetition and routine] while the contents represent the harsh reality of the horrors that occur in the world. The colouring books where pasted without following any order to symbolize the random nature of childhood, I wanted to emphasize the conflict between the two stages, and also to try illustrate the way my mind works, when I think or have ideas I tend to start with something, for example a boat trip, then I'll connect that with something else, and before you know it, it's set off a chain reaction and I'm at a completely different thought, death for example, but still have a connection between the two things. Not sure if that makes much sense, the easiest way I can describe my thinking is its like a "domino effect", so I partly wanted the wallpaper to follow a similar pattern to try show this.
Whilst pasting the pages on the floor, I had an Epiphany! I came up with the idea of covering stairs within the uni with the colouring books and neon pages, so that people physically have to make the transition from childhood to the real world as they walk up the stairs. I'm quite excited about trying this idea out but have to wait until uni is empty over the Easter Holidays [so I don't get trampled while I'm gluing]

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