Monday, 20 March 2017

Project 4 - Time and the viewer

The brief says "Make a drawing that forces the viewer to use time differently" I'm still in Artists Book mode and I was interested in how something like a flip book could change the viewers relationship with time in that they control the speed of movement. I found this variation on a flip book in The Huffington Post. Stephen Walter uses a hagioscope to slow the way viewers examine his Nova Utopia map. I remember a scrolling book from my childhood and found instructions to make one for children (you have to scroll a long way down the page to find it I'm afraid but here is a picture)

Some preliminary sketchbook ideas

I experimented with a modified coffee cup.

The burgundy part is the peeled off cover. I drew on the underlying cup and cut a triangular hole (where the logo was) The sleeve can then rotate around the drawing, allowing the viewer to control what they see through the peephole

I found that it was impossible for one person to turn the sleeve around the cup and video it so you will have to use your imagination.

 Moving on, I have an old wooden box which I modified with two pieces of dowel to scroll a continuous piece of paper.

The box had a grubby perspex sliding lid which I replaced with a piece of cardboard. This meant that I could cut a window to limit the view.

I now have a primitive hagioscope. Videos of it in action are herehere and here.
The first scroll was splodges of ink with a darker area to represent night and a wavy line to represent movement.
For the second scroll I glued some black paper to my scroll to make darker night.
The white stars are drops of white ink spread out with a tooth pick.
This is the opposite daytime side.
My visual imagination of time is a sort of tape reeling out into the distance.

I thought that it would be interesting to cut the timeline out of my paper scroll.

Interestingly the two sides of paper, which aren't connected any more, do move at slightly different rates and start to overlap a little over time.

What is drawing without time? Even snapshot sketches require an investment in time to make them and to develop the skill to quickly communicate an idea without lots of preparation. Most drawings take quite a bit longer to produce and can only successfully communicate with the viewer if they are prepared to invest some time in looking at them. Microsoft published some (maybe discredited?) research that attention spans are decreasing.  Whether the research is accurate or not, what is clear is that we are constantly bombarded with images and information and it is a challenge for visual communicators to make their information stand out and seize the time to get a message or concept across. My response to this project has an element of gimmick to it. The viewer needs to stop and actively engage in the process of revealing the drawing. The definition of a "successful" artwork must in some way be whether it can persuade the viewer to spend some time with it. Eye catching or complex pieces may achieve this, but how do you get someone to linger with a simple drawing such as Ellsworth Kelly's Plant Drawings? There has to be some sort of resonance with the image to persuade the viewer to invest their time.


The hagiogaph has potential to be a significant piece. If it is to be sent for assessment it will need to be very well made to ensure that it works for the assessors. It could be represented by video which gives me control of how it is viewed. What is the purpose of the piece? Is it that the viewer turns the handles and chooses how fast it moves or is this dictated by me and presented in the video. Is the piece just about the moving parts or does the supporting box play a part? 
There are 3 different sheets, the cut line is the most successful.