The aPANOPTICON is a sculptural artwork which functions as a ,viewer operated, remotely controlled, miniature art gallery. It enables the viewer to explore its hidden contents and to view the results in the form of a projected live video on an adjacent wall. The aPANOPTICON took nine months to design and construct and had its debut in the "Anti Gallery Gallery Show" at the Espacio Gallery in January 2015.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Jane: installation

On installation day, I brought as many objects as I could fit into my wheeled suitcase and hand luggage. It would have been expensive on EasyJet, but luckily I only had one change of train and a short walk at either end of my journey.

I aimed to choose as much variety of texture as I could, but I didn't have a definite plan on how I would curate my objects. The whole project is experiemental, and I wanted to enter into it in that spirit - to see what happened.

In fact, the wider curation of objects near to each other becomes largely irrelevant. While the operator can move the view in any direction they choose, the aPanopticon restricts this view to one that is totally blinkered. Objects that are on a single shelf will be seen together, but there is no need to set objects on separate shelves so that they are in visual balance or opposition to one another in the way you would in a gallery setting because they cannot be seen simultaneously.
Objects in place, covers hung
Closer view of objects in place (with lighting on)
The aPanopticon controls the quantity of what you see at any one point. You can have single, isolated objects on one shelf and multiple, instense objects on another shelf. In a normal setting, this could be uncomfortable, but the aPanopticon means that this contrast can be made without the consideration of a wider, peripheral view which might mean neither looks good.

I had brought prints on tissue paper with me that I thought I might hang in the background. However, the focus of the camera is fixed on the midpoint of the shelves. Hanging the prints in the background would have put them out of focus which I felt would not have suited the images.
Rejected print on tissue paper
Instead, I chose to hang a screenprint on a very openweave muslin. The muslin is crinkled, and the image is larger and bolder. This meant the lack of focus was less of an issue, while it added a further layer of texture and translucency. Also, the muslin was very easy to pin to the canvas hangings of the aPanopticon.
aPanopticon view of screenprint on muslin
The only difficulty in installing the work was that the shelves are quite wobbly when being handled. Some objects fell over while other shelves were being fixed or arranged. I don't think there is any movement when all is set up, but as I was not there during the exhibition hours, I decided that I would secure some of the pieces. I was able to clip the perspex stencils and labels to the metal cables with bulldog clips. 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

aPanopticon: first experience

Once the aPanopticon was up and running and the Anti-Gallery Gallery Show was underway, I made my first visit to see the aPanopticon in action.

Outside of aPanopticon
Graham operating it
It was exciting. I really like the look of the structure itself. Its intriguing and unusual and definitely looks like it 'does' something which draws you in. At times when there was strong daylight coming from the window behind, there is a sense that there is something inside as you can see glimpses of silhouette through the relatively open weave canvas that covers the structure.

Internal view, with camera in action. My jar inserted into the current work.
We tested a couple of objects that I had brought, on the shelves to see how they looked when projected on the screen. 
View of jar when projected.
The camera has strong lighting that moves and rotates with the camera as it is controlled. This gave an interesting effect with the reflection on the glass of the jar. In a usual gallery setting, the aim would often be to minimise reflection because it interferes with the experience of the viewer. However, in the aPanopticon, I felt that it emphasized the dynamic of the movement of the camera and the altered relationship of the viewer to the work of art inside. I felt I wanted to exploit this more with the work that I showed and to carefully think about the textures of the objects that I showed.

I also realised that there was far more room in the aPanopticon than I had anticipated. This meant that I needed to bring more work to fill it.