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.

Taking Shape

Last weekend, I made a mock-up for the book format I am going to use for the final ‘Scrap That’ artefact. I am basing my design on the gorgeous Watanabe book I discovered in my earlier research. In her case, she had used a folding box structure to represent rooms in a traditional Japanese house in which, the fusama open out as ‘pages’ bearing translations into modern Japanese of writings her father had made. I love the way the format facilitates the creation of sequences of pages (like a journey) and enclosed space (like a resting place). My intention is to build my book so that the ‘reading order’ is a journey along which I read my poem before meeting my loved ones and sharing thoughts with them before entering the final resting place by way of a walk through my home landscape and into the enclosed space of the book … the sort of flower strewn chamber of the Iam Dulcis. It is a very complicated structure.

The book leaves represented in the picture above – in green card – will support the printed images of my poem done in the Photoshop workshop. They will run through the first reading order section, sort of the zig-zag inwards, and lead to fabric covered openings in which the cream card features will be enclosed. These will be fabric covered (significant remnants) and close with the ceramic buttons I made. Within each of these fabric ‘chapters’ of the book will be pictures (from print workshop) words and mementos (collected/made ephemera as the assignment brief says) for my loved ones. The reading journey on the reverse side of the zig- zag section will be fabric covered with pieces developed since the textile workshop. All will be stitched in place with pieces of my wedding veil running along the pages to create a liminal obscurity. This will turn into the opened out enclosed space at the end of reading, to represent a shroud. The walls of the enclosed space will bear the Photoshop palimpsests of the Iam Dulcis poem. This is a huge amount of making and assembling to be getting on with. I have been in very early each morning this week and have stayed late after college to create extra studio time to plan into my work schedule. I have got everything planned down to the minute for the remainder of the project up to deadline and have even managed to squeeze in an elective life drawing session last Monday morning – a lovely relaxing interlude, quiet, away from the studio and the sense of frenzy that seems to have developed as this first, key assignment reaches deadline!