Latex and Resin

Thinking further about ways to preserve all the rusty objects and the idea that these had been encased in the mud at the base of the reservoirs for decades I began thinking about ways that we preserve sentimental items. Resin was an obvious choice to me for experimentation.

I began by making two moulds one from a house brick and the other from a cast iron water grid that I had acquired previously.

Once the moulds were made I missed the pouring resin and poured an initial layer into the brick mold before leaving to gellify. At this point I laid my sample rusty object in the Mold and poured the second layer before leaving for 24 hours to cure.

The water grid I simply cast in its own right as I feel this has conceptual meaning if it’s own and if replicated could infer the many households who continue to benefit from the reservoir waters.

Reflection

Some of the latex in the water grid stuck in the resin and has ripped the mold a little.

I could have done with using a wax releasing agent to ensure that the latex did not stick. Also if I’m thinking about replicating this many times a rubber mold would be a better option, possibly silicone.

Overall especially pleased with the effect and see potential with lighting from behind. Definitely would like to create repeated patterns with these.

The Garden Shaman Video Clips

Below are some excerpts from The Garden Shaman visual movement poem directed, conceived and performed by Eli Acheson-Elmassry. I was responsible for the filming and the Video Production of this piece. See Also: The Garden Shaman and The Garden Shaman – Reflection.

The Garden Shaman – Reflection

For The Garden Shaman project I was commissioned to film some performative elements and produce a video from the footage that was acquired. Below is my overall reflection of the project now that it has come to an end. Some video clips from the final work are located here.

This has been a good opportunity to film outside with another artist. Some of the film footage was good, yet some of it overexposed – I think in part due to the light on the day.

Getting to film a performing artist and then to edit the footage and produce a video from the raw footage enabled me to reflect on the level of skill I have achieved with Premiere Pro over the past four years.

I only have my own experiences of shooting footage outside to go on – and I am aware that further research in this area is required. On some of the video footage my breathing is audible. On some clips it works and then others it will be edited out.

The amount of raw footage that was shot in the first instance had to be condensed massively and this took a significant amount of organisation. Several review meetings also meant that the ability to roll back any content to a previous state had to be built into the video files.

These regular review meetings mean that the project could move forward and the content reviewed and agreed at different stages – the content was also critically evaluated at every stage.

This video piece has become by far the largest video project I have been involved in to date. It has given me the opportunity to deepen my relationship with Adobe Premiere Pro and improve my editing skills along the way which I see will stand me in good stead in the future.

Producing a video that was originally going to be 10 minutes maximum but then turned out to be over 20 minutes was a good exercise in creating content that maintains the attention of the audience.

The best part has been the ethereal expression through editing what is very simple footage showing mundane tasks in the garden.

The greatest challenge has been managing my time while completing this project. This work has been in addition to my day job and my masters work. Originally the scope of the project was that it would not take too much time. However, during between November 2018 and February 2019 this project took on average an additional working week per month. The impact of this was that something had to give and although I have kept up with the practical side of the Masters, making my own work whenever time allowed, my blogging has been put on hold and as I write this (April 2019) I have a significant number of unpublished posts ready to be added to my blog.

I have put a lot of effort into making this video piece as manageable as possible. Taking hundreds of source videos into 96 edited videos and finally at this point 9 individual videos leading to one final piece. This has proved time consuming however necessary for the successful completion of the project.

I am really enjoying working with Eli and find our meetings positive and constructive where she provides me with the things that she would like to see in the video. It has been a fine balance with this piece of work, treating it as my own so that I am fully committed and engaged in the process yet being detached enough to let someone else direct me in the process.

My working life as a Technical Writer has helped me remain detached in the fact that as a Technical Writer your work is continually critiqued and there is no space for personal feelings in that environment – it is just a collective effort to meet an end result – this I find is very apparent in this project too.

There have been some important lessons learned for me in preparing to embark on such a project. Most specifically around the area of clarifying the scope of work in its entirety at the beginning of the project.

This project was undertaken with limited agreement in writing where clearer terms should have been outlined and written up at the outset. What this has highlighted for me is that I need to prepare my own terms of service in readiness for future artistic projects.

Copyright and Attribution is an important part of this for all involved to know where they stand. The copyright workshop I attended during the Low Residency really gave me food for thought in this area and made me realise that for this project none of this had been considered or agreed formally.

Initially this project was only meant to be for a short period of time. However, as a project it seemed to grow and before long a considerable number of hours over a six-month period had been completed. This impacted my availability for other projects and has resulted in my own personal artistic endeavours, particularly when applying to exhibit having to be put on hold waiting for the project to finish.

I chose to charge a nominal hourly rate on the basis that I was going to be attributed in the work for my contribution to the project. This was agreed verbally and at least meant I was compensated for the time actually spent working on the project. However, given the number of hours that this project eventually took, Eli would have probably benefited from agreeing a set fee for the project up front.

Previously I have worked for a fixed fee and this definitely benefited the client more – I still put in 110% effort into the work but as it was a fixed fee, this equated to a particularly low hourly rate.

This has raised a lot of questions for me though about the project management side. In particular when agreeing a set fee, very clear outcomes have to be established to ensure a reasonable compensation for the effort involved.

Where I was not compensated was mileage and time travelling to the Eli’s home for review meetings and to shoot footage. It was my own decision not to charge for mileage and travel, however each review meeting meant two hours of travel time which over the six months soon added up.

I also did not charge for some of the video editing work where I placed an expectation on myself to finish parts of the work more quickly. Particularly as the video files became larger and took longer to compile and upload to send to Eli. It didn’t really feel fair that I was charging for the compilation/upload time although I did have to sit with it and wait for the compilations/uploads to complete

I now realise that I charged the nominal fee because I personally didn’t value my own skill and expertise. Recently I have experienced a shift in this thinking about this issue and now see more clearly the value in my skill and expertise and will charge appropriately for this in the future.

It’s definitely time I developed my own terms of service and I will consider all of the lessons learned during this project when I do so.

All that being said though, this has still been an extremely positive and rewarding experience with some valuable lessons to take into my future artistic life.

Would I do this differently – probably not – overall working with another artist in this manner has been a positive rewarding experience. I’ve really enjoyed working with another artist and look forward to similar experiences in the future. It’s been a fabulous project to have been a part of.

I am very proud of the outcome of this project and the end result definitely demonstrates the effort that has gone in to it. From filming and producing the video, providing creative input along the way and collaborating with the other artist Eli Acheson-Elmassry who imagined and coordinated the project, directed and performed in her original artwork as The Garden Shaman.

The Garden Shaman

Update – April 2019: Having completed this project I have retrospectively considered the lessons I have learned as a result of this experience. These considerations are recorded in The Garden Shaman – Reflection. Some video clips from the final piece are located here.


During November 2018 the artist Eli Acheson-Elmassry contacted me with an invitation to produce a video piece for a new piece of work.  The Garden Shaman provides a metaphor for the connection that the garden has with the cyclical nature of life and death. The natural processes that occur in the garden along with the assistance we provide to the garden to enable these life cycles to continue.

Attached to the cloak are latex moulds of commonly used garden tools and a painting of flowers that remind Eli of her childhood. A piece of work that invokes memory of life and death

My role is the project is to provide video production services, shooting and editing footage to produce an ultimate video piece with a duration of at least 10 minutes.

We began the project with an initial site visit. The filming was to take place in Eli’s back garden. During this visit, we discussed Eli’s ambition for the project and initial ideas for filming. I also shot some footage to give Eli an idea of how the cloak appeared when being filmed.

The weather was cloudy but sunny for this initial visit and it would later prove difficult to get the same weather conditions – however as it turned out with each day we recorded footage the weather was perfect for us to progress the project and the filming further.

During this initial visit, we noticed that the silky nature of the fabric produced interesting light and shadows in the sunlight – with the light behind us – yet appeared very flat in colour with the light ahead of us. The wind also improves the appearance of the cloak as well.

On the second site visit, the intention was to shoot as much footage as possible. Weather – a much duller day and very still – not so good but still recorded some useful footage. One issue that appeared in the resulting footage was that some of the images were over exposed. Having checked the camera, I did conclude that this was due to the light on the day – however it does require more investigation. Overall, though this issue affected only a small number of clips Going to use Premiere Pro to fix the over exposure for footage that is used.

This video and photography shoot then led to the first lot of video editing. Being aware that this is a collaboration with another artist, I decided to err on the side of caution and not heavily edit the clips at this point. I decided to create a collection of clips intended for use as a starting point for a review conversation. Initially because of these clips, it became apparent that another site visit to shoot footage was required.

Around a week later I shot some additional footage – this was the best day weather wise so far. Not too dark, not too bright and lots of wind.

At this stage we took the opportunity to review all the footage taken to date and for me to get a better understanding of Eli’s vision for the project. A successful discussion with a definite way forward and I now have a clear idea of what is required in terms of the video editing.

In January 2019 I then set about creating a collection of short video clips. I will then use these clips later to create the final video. Considering the fact that there is a considerable amount of footage available to use it has been important to be super organised with the footage to make it easier to access and use in the future.

Because of the amount of footage and the extent of editing required, I had be been particularly well organised. As part of this process I have created a collection of smaller video clips which I can use at a later date to create the final video piece.

The following points were key considerations to be taken during the video edit. For some video clips the speed was increased or decreased accordingly. For others reverse speed was used to create interest. Some content was zoomed and/or flipped either horizontally or vertically and mirror images were produced for some. Some of the sounds were amplified in the footage to create a sense of boldness, particularly with the digging sounds. Layers were also created in the audio by duplicating and moving sounds around to improve the audio experience of the video piece.

Finally, some experimentation with different video effects was used to demonstrate different ways of looking at the video material. Currently I’m not uploading any video clips as this project is ongoing – however below are some of the stills taken from the video clips that have video effects applied to them.

Having reviewed all the video clips, I’d produced March 2019 marked the stage where I’m putting the final video together. Having discussed with Eli at length her ideas for a sequence I have divided the content into 9 sections. This is to make the video content more versatile and more applicable to multi screens if required. For this stage though the draft video provided to Eli is one complete video with all the clips in the required sequence.

Initially the video was meant to be around 10 minutes but Eli was so pleased with the footage that the intention is to use as much of the footage as possible. The result 25 minutes and 40 seconds- the longest video I have produced to date. Two review meetings later and a final video was complete.

After two more review meetings and finalising the edits required by Eli, at the end of April, I finally got to a place where there is a final video which I am really proud of and is a good testament to the video production skills and expertise I have brought to the project.

Keen to respect the integrity of the project I am only showing images that have been placed onto Social Media by Eli. Below are some of these images from the final video produced.

 

Experimenting with Poloroids

Fascinated with my Poloroid camera I find the images an interesting way to present something historical that has a relationship with memory. Particularly when thinking about the fading of memories over time and how the Poloroid photographs easily become faded or overexposed depending on the environmental factors when they were taken. This is a method I’m considering to help me connect with archive footage in particular.

For this experiment I used some archive images from the internet and manipulated them using my iPhone. Once printed, I then photographed them with my poloroid camera.

Whilst not important to note for the digitally modified images, it is important that I say the poloroids were taken on a particularly hot day. The film had been in the fridge and the first two images (clearest) were taken straight away, so although the day was hot the film was cold. However I then decided to follow advice and leave the film adapt to room temperature before continuing. What resulted was the remaining images being overexposed, however I liked this effect anyway.

The SX-70 Poloroid camera was a significant influence in the way that photography and art interact. The SX-70 film allowed you to modify and distort the image by scratching into the emulsion. Lucas Samaras was know for his photo transformations created in this manner.

For all the poloroids I used a wooden stick to manipulate the Poloroid ink as the images developed which also gave me some interesting additional effect.

I also then photographed the poloroids with my iPhone and edited them.

Poloroid Emulsion Lift is where you transfer the emulsion from a Poloroid onto another surface, for example paper. These are also called Poloroid Transfers. Using original Poloroid pull apart films which are now discontinued, the only film available for this process now is available from the Impossible project.

Finally I decided to make a photo emulsion experiment with one of the Poloroid photographs.

Reflection

The edited images I photographed with the Poloroid were very dark and I think higher contrast images would be a better source. Getting the camera to focus on the digital images was a challenge in itself. I need more thought in this area. More research is required on how to manipulate Poloroid photographs.

Bibliography

En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Instant camera. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_camera [Accessed 9 May 2019].

En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Lucas Samaras. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_Samaras [Accessed 9 May 2019].

En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Polaroid transfer. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polaroid_transfer [Accessed 9 May 2019].

PetaPixel. (2019). How to Do an Emulsion Lift to Transfer an Image from Polaroid to Paper. [online] Available at: https://petapixel.com/2017/02/01/emulsion-lift-transfer-image-polaroid-paper/ [Accessed 9 May 2019].

Polaroid Originals UK. (2019). Polaroid Instant Cameras and Film. [online] Available at: https://uk.polaroidoriginals.com/ [Accessed 9 May 2019].

Shoot It With Film. (2019). How To Do Polaroid Transfers & Emulsion Lifts » Shoot It With Film. [online] Available at: https://shootitwithfilm.com/how-to-do-polaroid-transfers/ [Accessed 9 May 2019].

YouTube. (2019). Polaroid transfer / for Mediatos. [online] Available at: https://youtu.be/rEXSelhHHvw [Accessed 9 May 2019].

Research – Casting with Resin

Reading up on what to consider when using resin.

  • Releasing agent required where mould has potential to stick to resin.
  • Sample using Latex mould, however silicone rubber moulds will be stronger for repeat moulding.
  • Matt silicone moulds will give a matt finish – gloss silicone moulds a glossy finish
  • Casting moulds are better quality and more durable than baking moulds.
  • Read the instructions to know for sure what quantity of resin to mix to what quantity of hardener and how long it takes to cure
  • Be super accurate with measuring
  • Mix thoroughly – looking for a uniform colour
  • Choose the right resin
  • Get good at the basics first

Epoxy resin is:

  • best for beginners as it is the easiest to work with.
  • Has the longest shelf life
  • Most forgiving environmentally
  • Longest pot time
  • Sometimes cures with a yellow tine – check before you buy – the more colour free the more expensive.
  • Available as a doming resin which is thicker with extra surface tension, however more difficult to remove bubbles from.
  • Considered a soft resin meaning the casting can be dented.
  • Not suitable for polishing with a polishing wheel – it will not withstand the heat.

Clear Casting/ polyester/polyurethane resin

  • Generally cheaper than epoxy resin
  • Cures very hard with the hardness and clearness of glass
  • Can be polished with a buffing wheel and compound
  • Does not require recoating or a gloss spray to be shiny
  • General moisture insensitive – not affected by humidity.
  • Requires lots of ventilation.
  • Short pot time – generally 8 minutes – less than epoxy resin
  • Careful calculation of resin to hardener required (so many drops per 100ml)
    • Thin layers require more hardener to generate more heat to cure
    • For multiple layers, each layer adds to the heat effect meaning each layer requires less hardener than the one before.
  • Be aware of the end result at the beginning – measure the right amount of resin and hardener for your actual requirements.
  • Shelf Life is no more than six months which epoxy will last much longer.
  • Exposed Surface remains sticky after the resin has cured. This can be sanded off or sealed with resin sealer.
  • Likely to break if dropped.

Bibliography

Resinobsession.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/what-kind-of-resin-should-i-use/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2019].

Resinobsession.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-resin-resin/mistakes-beginners-make-resin/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2019].

 

Research – Lucas Samaras

My interest in Lucas Samaras is because of his Photo Transformations created by manipulating the wet dye on the poloroid photographic film. While the poloroid images are drying the surface is scratched, rubbed and scraped to disturb the image and create dramatic changes in the image presented.

A lot of his images are close up photographs of his own face, hands – yet others are elaborately presented theatrical scenes. Although these works are from the 1970’s they remain fresh and current with society of the present day’s compulsion towards selfie taking.

Bibliography

Schultz, C. (2018). LUCAS SAMARAS: Photo-Transformations. [online] The Brooklyn Rail. Available at: https://brooklynrail.org/2018/07/artseen/LUCAS-SAMARAS-Photo-Transformations [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019].

The Met Museum (n.d.). Photo-Transformation, Lucas Samaras. [online] Metmuseum.org. Available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/265049 [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019].