The design exercise in this chapter is all about creating a totem from a collection of any relevant items as a way of celebrating my personal course theme, which is ‘machinery and industrial landscape’ . The chapter suggests it could be in the form of a heap of things or a memory ribbon.
After much thought, I decided to use my collection of photographs of the old Sevalco plant near where I live. This was one of the first things I photographed when exploring the theme back in module one, and I have returned several times over the last few years as the plant has been taken down piece by piece. The latest set was taken just before summer school 2012 and now there is little left of many of the structures apart from large piles of bricks and some puddles. I didn’t base any of my assessment pieces on these images but they have cropped up several times as inspiration in the coursework. As I am getting to the final few chapters, I like the idea of celebrating both the theme and the passage of time since I started the course, and all the changes that have taken place.
I wasn’t sure at first how to present the photographs but I wanted to express the idea of there being little left but rubble. I remembered seeing this blog post a couple of years ago featuring sculptural photography by Szymon Roginski and Kasia Korzeniecka, and I have taken this as inspiration. The photographs have been cut up, folded into octahedrons and loosely bound together with copper wire so the heap can be rearranged and piled up.
Photos 5.1 to 5.3 show different views. Each octahedron is about 45mm by 30mm.
Photos 5.4 and 5.5 show the first attempt using the idea of symbols in a graphic style (like signs). I copied some of the faces of the octahedrons and simplified the images so that a few lines represent e.g. pipe ends and scaffolding, roof spotlights, chimneys, barbed wire. I chose four of these and drew them into a larger (A3) plan for an octahedron (working with grids and symmetry). After this, I wasn’t sure what to do with it – you can see I played a bit with overlaying onto one of the original photos to add colour.
Changing the settings for the displacement map created an abstract image with a soft felt-like texture (could be hidden stories) photo 5.13.