Encounter at Wysing Arts Centre
In 2020 I was commissioned by Wysing Arts Centre to create a new work in their Test Space gallery. I made Encounter which responded to a series of small objects and ideas linked to visual perception. This was my first truly immersive installation and repurposed collaging techniques for a 3D environment. It included abstracted photographs, drawings, sculptures, video and lighting and was reminiscent of theatrical stage design.
This work has been hugely influential on my current research and ideas. I have since considered ways of using lighting, sound design and performance. While also thinking about the sensory impact of immersive installations and how I can ensure the work is inclusive and accessible to all.
Re-staging the familiar at Northside House with Hospital Rooms
In 2020 I was invited by Hospital Rooms to participate in a project at Northside House, a medium secure mental health unit in Norwich. I was commissioned alongside five other artists to create a new artwork for the unit in response to conversations with the users and staff.
Who are Hospital Rooms?
Hospital Rooms is a charity co-founded by Tim A Shaw and Niamh White. Their goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of mental health service users through art and creative activities. They co-produce the projects with artists, mental health service users and practitioners to enhance the environments of units and develop innovative solutions for specific social needs. While bringing world class art to mental health hospitals.
Northside House Project
When starting this project, I was interested in investigating how design choices and the features of a space influence the atmosphere and emotions associated with it. After visiting Northside House, I focused on the time spent in rooms and corridors and how they were moved through. I chose to work with a small, enclosed space. Here I could make subtle changes to its physical structure. On my site visit I led a sculpture workshop with service users and staff. We made small 3D environments out of colorful card, using different folding and construction techniques. This allowed us to talk about their favourite spaces and how they influenced their creations. We also experimented with lighting and casting shadows through their sculpture, generating new shapes and perspectives.
The dynamic and energetic quality of the service users’ creations were incorporated into my artwork design. I used the shapes and drawings of the paper sculptures to create wooden reliefs and a wrap-around mural. The installation covers the walls and ceiling of the quiet TV room. It aims to encourage curiosity through the playful shapes and composition while promoting a peaceful atmosphere with its grounding colours.
How does this influence my current thinking?
In recent years, I have been creating immersive works that rely heavily on visual perception. This can be seen in both Encounter and Re-staging the familiar. Although successful, I have come to realise I would like to generate a space for the full sensory experience. I am now looking to develop more ambitious artworks that involve physical and digital interactive elements. For example, moveable sculptural structures and responsive lighting and sound design. To accomplish this, I plan to train, upskill, and collaborate with others. My ultimate goal is to create work that can exist in various formats, environments, and scales, including public art and small interventions. Making Your Art Accessible training programme has supported that development and is triggering new questions and developments.
List of inspirations - recent reading
How to Land: Finding Ground in an Unstable World by Ann Cooper Albright.
Ann Cooper Albright highlights the significance of embodiment as a coping mechanism in our modern world, which is often disorienting. By drawing a connection between somatics and politics, Albright suggests that placing emphasis on gravity as both a metaphorical sensibility and physical experience can facilitate the transformation of personal disorientation into a chance to contemplate the interdependent relationship between individual resilience and communal responsibility
Beyond Scenography by Rachel Hann
Beyond Scenography is a book that explores the distinction between scenography and scenographics in contemporary theatre-making. The book argues that there is no theatre practice without scenography and proposes a renewed theory of scenographic practice for theatrical designers. The book covers various topics, including installation art, gardening, marketing, and placemaking.
The Senses: Design Beyond Vision by Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps
Accompanying a major exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, The Senses delves into the impact of space, materials, sound and light on the human mind and body. Featuring the works of renowned designers such as Petra Blaisse, Bruce Mau, and Malin+Goetz, the book showcases the ways in which multisensory design can enhance the human experience and provide solutions to problems, including those faced by individuals with sensory disabilities