FMP Weeks 24-27: Planning and preparing Exhibition 2

In contrast to Exhibition 1 at the Incinerator visitors centre exhibiting in a metal box and on a wooden wall presented challenges in terms of printing and hanging images. Inside the shipping container it was clear that magnets would be best and with no sticky surfaces applied to the surfaces. Nails were favoured for the slatted wooden wall. Both surfaces were uneven; the metal walls corrugated so sizing images to be hung on prominent corrugations was important, the wooden wall comprised overlapping slats in a downward flow and meant that the surface undulated repeatedly from top to bottom thus making ‘flat’ hanging a challenge.

Sarah Newton 2019, Out-Sight-In exhibition was located towards the end of The Clay Factory beyond the chimney
Sarah Newton 2019, Looking at the shipping container and wooden slatted wall in a large room, but small part of The Clay Factory in preparation for the arrival of Out-Sight-In exhibition

Outside and inside surfaces of the shipping container

Planning
I experimented with some of the images I had used in the first exhibition, discarding some and introducing different ones from the pool I had created to draw from for the FMP. Initially done by moving images around on a large noticeboard I then moved to a folded cardboard made from a box before discovering a wooden wine box had almost the same dimensions as the container, thus a 3D model was formed. I also took photographs of the empty container and the blank wooden wall and superimposed scaled images onto both to get a feel for looked right on the actual walls. I decided to have images of recycling on parts of the outside mimicking looking into recycling banks and because these images had been used in the initial publicity and would therefore be identifiable and recognisable by visitors drawing them in a flow from back to front of the container (this being the approach they would take on entering a large factory space with two levels of containers with windows all being used as offices and studios). The container I was using had no windows but it did have power points, two tungsten lightbulbs and wifi.

Sarah Newton 2019, Mock up of the images inside the shipping container using an empty wine box
Sarah Newton 2019, Mock up of the tryptic images inside the shipping container using an empty wine box
Sarah Newton 2019, Mock up of image and blue light used to develop set up plan
Sarah Newton 2019, Image layout plan overlaid on original photograph with two prints the same size as those to be displayed on the sofas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Newton 2019, Back corner of shipping container with posters of recycling images used in initial publicity and here to guide visitors forward to the exhibition

Location

The beach debris images were destined for the inside walls of the container. Some time before I had decided this was the right place as debris should be deposited in appropriate places but this plan also symbolically alludes to the containers spilled by ships at sea and with damage and deterioration their significant contribution to the materials floating in the gyres, onto our beaches  and resting on the sea bed (Morris 2017). In retrospect, I could perhaps have laid all these images on the floor or the ceiling of the container to make this point stronger.

Sarah Newton 2019, Images of beach debris hung inside shipping container with overhead tungsten lighting

Magnets
I ordered and experimented with silver and black magnets of different strengths and sizes (10mm, 15mm and 20mm). I settled for some of each size, each to relate to the different sizes the images were printed at. I also chose black. Although they came with an adhesive backing I chose not to use that because it would have made keeping the printed images difficult to roll and store for future use and I could not leave sticky marks possibly with magnets still attached on the surface of the metal walls. In addition since my images were on a black background I thought the black magnets would blend and not be noticed on the beach debris images, and when visible on the recycling images would not detract from the impact they conveyed. Three sets of 9 7.5 x 7.5cms magnetised images of both the beach debris and recycling images proved helpful in preparing hanging plans and having available on the container doors at the exhibition for visitors to rearrange to their liking. Having experimented with the magnets and test images on the side of my fridge freezer and central heating radiators I visited the container and tried this method of hanging out with test prints of different sizes. This also allowed me to assess whether the strength of magnets I proposed were correct for the weight of the images and they were.

Sarah Newton 2019, Developing hanging plans with magnetised images on a domestic radiator
Sarah Newton 2019, Developing hanging plans with magnetised images on a domestic radiator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Newton 2019, Magnetised recycling images on the inside of the shipping container door
Sarah Newton 2019, Magnetised beach debris and recycling images on the inside of the shipping container door

Printing
My choice of surface for printing the beach debris and recycling images that were to be used with the container was 250gsm Fujifilm. Having looked at several options as reported previously (https://sarahnewtonphotoblog.com/2019/03/20/fmp-weeks-18-23-test-strips-on-paper-and-fabric/) good quality unframed posters were appropriate for lightness and the context. Mounted and framed images would have looked out of place, albeit an interesting contrast with the industrial setting, and would have been difficult to hang given that drilling and attaching sticky items to the walls were not options. The only concern I had when ordering was the limited sizes available through this online service. I would have liked the option to request specific sizes that suited both the image and the space available for hanging. This was particularly important given that I wanted the images flat against the metal walls and not being bent around the corrugations. So careful measuring of the corrugations and matching to the available sizes for posters was essential. Even then I managed to miss some variation in the spacing of the corrugations by assuming all the walls were the same! This lead to an adjustment to my hanging plan at the last moment. In addition, I had assumed the container was level on the factory floor which itself undulated in parts! I had to accept that in setting up my images with a spirit level the lines of the corrugations would not exactly match the straight edges of the images. Thankfully it all worked out!

Slatted wooden wall

Hanging
Hanging on the wooden wall went smoothly. I ordered nails with a prominent head for hanging pictures as well as standard picture hooks to have a backup system in case the first one failed. The latter made the images stick out at an angle from the slatted board. However the nails could be embedded at different depths to accommodate any adverse effects of the overlapping slats in order for the images to hang flat and not at an angle. There were no adjustments to the hanging plan needed thanks to my learning from preparations for Exhibition 1 and more recent experimentation with magnetised images on the fridge and radiators at home.

Printing
Having printed on posters and magnetised squares the third surface for the recycling images was UV printed directly on 5mm PVC panels for hanging on the wooden slatted wall. I had used this method before for the Beauty and the Beach exhibition in August 2018. My thinking was to be able to reuse the printed images in other locations, such as the beach and in school settings. Thus their claim to be water-resistant and scratch-resistant was appealing. They also come ready to hang with fixings attached to the back.

Sarah Newton 2019, Packs of magnets for shipping container posters and metal and string options for hanging images on slatted wood wall
Sarah Newton 2019, Images hung for Out-Sight- In
Sarah Newton 2019, Recycling images hung ready for exhibition opening

Lighting

Outside the container and on the wooden wall lighting was provided with industrial strip lights and limited natural sunlight through windows and a large factory door when it was open. Inside the container two overhead light bulbs produced a bright light which would have done if I had wanted a clinical stark and empty feeling when viewing images inside it. My instinct was to create something of an atmosphere. I took advice from a theatrical producer who loaned equipment for me to experiment with at home and when ‘rehearsing’ in the container. He offered up to 5 floor up lighters used in stage shows and a range of coloured rolls of plastic from which I could make filters. Downlighter spots as one might see in some galleries were not an option with limitations on being able to attach fixings to the ceiling and the positioning of electrical sockets such that wires would be trailing and hanging above visitors heads.

Sarah Newton 2019, Making filters for Out-Sight-In exhibition lights

The additional equipment offered was a dimming board which would give me control of individual lights. I also looked into mood lamps available online and at large DIY stores as these can be set to particular colours or to scroll through a set of colours, some with projected patterns. I worked out that I would need more than one and the costs would have mounted. So following experimentation I selected three lights and remained until setting up day undecided between blue and red filters or a combination of both.

Sarah Newton 2019, Trying out a red filter
Sarah Newton 2019, Trying a combination of red and blue filters

The blue created a cold mystical feel and the light seemed more prominent than the content of the images. The red created a glow with some warmth inviting visitors in and most importantly seemed to illuminate the images to best advantage. I decided not to use the dimmer board as the extra trailing wires presented an additional hazard and I would have had to stay close to the equipment to safeguard it. I could also adjust the lighting by switching one or two lights off to create an effect and also to allow them to cool. I placed warnings about the lamps possibly being warm and not to get close to them at the entrance to the container. An additional health and safety element was to lay carpet (which happened to be sand coloured) on the central aisle in the middle of the floor and away from the lights. This was particularly important as potential visitors included children. The carpet also served the purpose of dampening sound when walking in the container.

Contextual considerations

The Clay Factory (http://theclayfactory.co.uk/) rents out space for businesses and artists studios. Run by a social enterprise, Redpod Enterprises, in conjunction with the Eddystone Trust.   Subsidiaries include RedPod Arts and RedPod Food. Out-Sight-In exhibition was located near the pop up lunches cafe RedPod Food and close to the studios of two artists, Anita Reynolds and Sarah Gilbert. My images and their work as shown on the outside of their studios at the time of the exhibition worked well in so far as their focus on land and seascapes and mine on debris blighting both meant that we were complementary and not conflicting. In addition, the large room we were all accommodated in had a series of huts decorated as beach huts (each was a fully equipped office inside) and was being developed and decorated with an overarching beach theme. Again it felt as if the images I was presenting fitted in well.

PAT testing

The Clay Factory requested that all the stage lighting I would be using should be PAT tested. Having checked all the lights, adapters and extensions I arranged for an electrician to ensure this was done (some items were due to run out shortly after the time of the exhibition so they were included too).

Public & Products Liability and Professional Indemnity (PPL and PI) insurance

The Clay Factory requested that I have public liability insurance. There are a number of organisations available to cover artists and photographers. I researched options and costs and took out a policy which will cover me for events over the coming year.

Reference

MORRIS, Hugh. 2017. Lost cargo and rubber ducks: Inside the curious world of container shipping. The Telegraph, Travel: Travel Truths, 21st November 2017. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/lost-container-ships-bizarre-world-of-global-shipping/ [accessed 08-04-2019].

FMP Weeks 25-27: Flyers, posters and social media

I am delighted with the flyers and posters. I designed both front and back pages and have been pleasantly surprised at the positive comments the presentation has received when uploaded to social media and my email contacts. The hard copies arrived after 48 hours and Instantprint have done an excellent job in getting the colours right and delivering according to plan. They also put in a few above the numbers ordered, an unexpected bonus. While the posters were on a standard (cheapest) paper they were strong enough to be pinned and stuck to various shop wall surfaces and outdoor noticeboards. The A5 flyers made from matt recycled paper are robust and feel great to hold. They have been welcomed by shops and post offices with smaller event notice boards as well as being handed out to people who might be interested in attending.

Sarah Newton 2019, Newton Ferrers Community Noticeboard
Sarah Newton 2019, Co-op Food Ivybridge Community Noticeboard

My choice of images was not difficult. Advance publicity had been distributed in my local village monthly newsletter and on social media (Facebook and Instagram) as well as by personal email in February,  just over a month before the exhibition. The images used included an individual piece of plastic and a collage of recycling facilities. I could have chosen to use the same ones to achieve consistency in the message /invitation to attend. However, I wanted a link to the previous publicity and also wanted a dyptic or tryptic which sat well together and suggested the two angles to the project; the beach debris and recycling. It  also felt important to include images that were planned to appear in the exhibition. Thus one blue plastic image was carried over into this design along with a complimentary pink plastic image. Seated between the two I chose to use the bottle bank image with the word warning appearing in the opening. I felt this served the purpose of raising a question for the reader who may then wish to visit the exhibition to find out more about the connection between the clearly different subject matter and presentations.

The poster and front side of the flyer have a black background. Having tried a number of colours black was best in both blending with the two images of plastics, both on black backgrounds and the rusty surface of the bottle bank. White lettering looked best against the black for readability and impact. I chose to break this text up by having my name match the rusty colour of the bottle bank image.

Choosing landscape rather than portrait was determined by the tryptic width. What I discovered on asking if businesses could display the posters was that most others are usually portrait, thus fitting a landscape A4 into a neat array of portraits was an issue, particularly on one occasion where a flyer was used instead.

I chose to print my bio and details of the project on the back of the flyer so that they could be used during the exhibition as well as for publicity. A white background provided a separation from the publicity side and opened up options for print colour. While black was probably the optimum choice for readability, I preferred green, thus creating a green credentials link with the project subject matter; debris and recycling. I included a small portrait of myself to introduce a sense of familiarity to the reader, a way of relating to both me and the project, with the potential for engendering a ‘personal’ approach which could encourage visitors to the exhibitions (all three are listed).

What might I have done differently now that the posters are up and the flyers distributed and also available for people to have when visiting the exhibition?

  • Distribute earlier eg 6-8 weeks before event rather than 2
  • Distribute over a wider area eg villages in a 20 mile radius rather than a 12 mile radius 
  • Write an accompanying press release to send to printed media (newspapers and magazines)
  • Have 2 images (one from each of the two sub projects) or strips from images on the posters and flyers thus enabling portrait posters and more space for larger lettering to improve readability (similar to the test strips referred to in the previous post https://sarahnewtonphotoblog.com/2019/03/20/fmp-weeks-18-23-test-strips-on-paper-and-fabric/).
  • Include specific directions to the location.
  • Distribute to all schools in the area personally with posters and not just by email.
Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of The Clay Factory Publicity
Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of The Clay Factory Publicity
Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of Eventbrite Publicity
Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of Facebook publicity

In promoting a project with sustainability in mind it was also important not to overdo the use of resources that may contribute adversely to environmental issues eg paper, inks, electricity, chemicals etc.. Thus the decision to order only 25 posters and 200 flyers was consciously made as a back up to the social media coverage rather than the primary way of marketing.

 

Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of Instagram publicity
Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of Instagram publicity
Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of Instagram publicity
Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of Instagram publicity
Sarah Newton 2019, screenshot of Instagram publicity