The Patron’s Legacy: Links, decisions and research.

Poorly, and from the comfort of the sick-bed (settee), last October: I began the ‘Patron’s Legacy’ project by watching all of the films back to back – twice. That got past being distracted by ‘plot, narrative, characterisation, script, redundancy etc …….. (I love film analysis). As my husband often says “Can you not just bl**dy watch the film?!!!” This allowed me to pick two films to concentrate upon visually – they would be ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ (2012) and ‘Scandal’ (1989). I was drawn to the latter because the story has a rather odd personal resonance – I was Christened ‘Christine’ right at the height of the Profumo affair being in the news and apparently, my Grandparents (as featured in ‘Ars Moriendi’) were absolutely horrified. They couldn’t believe that my Mum and Dad would even think it was an appropriate name at the time. I was their first grandchild AND the first not to be named following family tradition and to choose such a sullied name with which to break the pattern was ‘just not right’. The former film appealed because of all the technical stuff …. NO redundancy, complex and engaging, beautifully filmed…..

I saw links and connections between the two films. Both reference espionage, they refer to a similar period of time politically etc but more hidden are little links like the bees. Mendel’s beekeeping in TTSS and the escaped bee that goes with him, Smiley and Guillam in the car, linking with the infamous ‘bee jar’ in the orgy scene in Scandal. There is the ‘Witchcraft’ Sinatra theme in Scandal that links with the ‘Witchcraft’ code name in TTSS. Plus in the TTSS script there are nods…’There’s too much scandal in here’ …. Then of course there is this.

Ubiquitous blue cup. TTSS and Christine K. & Police Officers drink out of them during her interview in the police station.

I sat down to watch these two films again with a sketch book, to discover what might catch my eye in a purely visually responsive way… as PT says ‘Notice what you notice’. Overwhelmingly, TTSS won the day!

I began to analyse it in visual detail and to do secondary research, reading interviews and articles with Alfredson, Hoytema and Djurkovic as well as studying film criticisms relating to the movie. This extended through the second part of Autumn term.

Research TTSS
Research TTSS -some Scandal too.

Over the Christmas break, when the brief was ‘revived’, I began to make detailed studies

An idea was forming that I would like to build an installation/sculpture as a tribute to the cinematography …. to explore perspective, angle, framing, structure, layered windows, etc and the claustrophobic feel of the internal and external ‘architecture’ of the film.

I would build it out of heather honey-comb bee hive boxes (of which I had a mountain in my loft) and create walls, filing stacks, windows, corridors etc. with a layout based around the chess theme in the film. It would consume an 8x8x8(honey box) cubic volume and I would attempt to balance positive and negative space within that. Some boxes would be ‘blocked’ by fillers that I derived from the colour palette, fabrics, artwork and interior design textures from the film. As the installation took shape I had to consider what to present it on and the left over, ribbed perspex from making ‘Neuroimagining’ came to mind. As soon as I placed the elements of the installation -‘Circus’ – on the board, the possibility of mood lighting it and taking photographs came to mind.

For the festival next month I now intend to present the ‘Circus’ installation, a set of photographs and an interpretive curatorial video called ‘A Melancholic World.’

Recording and Annotating The Development

Keeping track of developments. The problem solving: no more black marks from drawing onto the styrene. Use stencils pinned to the surface as a cutting guide.

Beautiful light responsive qualities of practice pieces discarded on the bench influence decision making about how to mount the work. It would be lovely to let light shine all the way through the finished sculpture….. consider using perspex and how to accomplish a professional looking finish.

Third Roll Of The Dice.

MIND …plastic…photography.

Another mind map.

Initial visual research… looking for photographs of ‘the mind’ might be a bit futile so instead I have been thinking about images that depict mental/brain activity and my first few sketch book pages reveal how prevalent un-accredited artwork is …. much info- graphic, and illustrative material being produced for American clinic brochures and websites …. no artists’ names which is such a pity given that although, a lot of rather cliched visualisations are ‘out there’, the skills, time and effort that has gone into creating them really should be acknowledged !

Mind images.

To explore the ‘photography’ methodology I dice-rolled, I am going to use the notion of ‘neuroimagingAS ‘photography’ and do a bit of research about the history of this field while I contemplate the ‘plastic’ aspect of this week’s experiments.

A little time to spare…

I seem to have worked really hard this week – very productive….. research, sketch-booking, making the animation, following-up on some of the contextual studies pointers we’ve been given and still a little time to spare before rolling the dice for next week’s chance selections. So, I decided to play around with some kale (the plant life idea continuing…) and make a brain out of it. The idea harks back to contextual drawing we did last half term when we had to bring a tool and a piece of food to college. One of the tasks was “use the food to ‘draw’ the tool then use the tool to ‘draw’ the food.” It was a really great activity and I got some lovely results drawing (painting & printing actually) with the kale I had taken in. I thought I’d revisit this.

I boiled the kale and reduced the liquid a bit having decided to use the liquor as my medium just to push the ‘plant life’ aspect of the experiment even further. I used this to tint paper by splattering the reduction off another kale leaf. Also, I did some printing from the leaves using a wash of purple and green water colour and worked into the results with oil pastel. While I was busy ‘Purple Haze’ came to mind which is rather apt considering the ‘mind theme’ so I have collaged the papers and prints and some photos into my sketch book with the Hendrix lyrics.

Making media and colouring papers. The purple kale liquor turns green over time – a gorgeous, topical, chance result.

‘Purple haze in my brain, lately things don’t seem the same, Actin’ funny but I don’t know why. Excuse me while I touch the sky’.

And finally …. making a miniature tunnel book sort of thing (in an old ring box) of the purple hazed mind.

The lid …. layers. Inside……. cut aways.