At the start of the Studio section of this course we were set a project called ‘Territories’ in which we had to transform our studio spaces to become our ‘territories’, in other words a space in which we feel comfortable that embodies a part of our personalities or ideals/ideas. It also has to show our territory of work that we wish to continue with for this year of our degree i.e. if you’re a painter will you be focusing on portraits, landscapes or pattern based work etc… The only other requirement is that the territory work has to be larger than yourself.
For this project I decided that I was quite interested in installation work so I booked out the dark space for a week rather than installing the work in my studio space (as the dark room is larger). My territory of work is Ceramics, Metal work, Plastic work and String work.
I also realised that I am quite interested in salvage Art as I am a keen environmentalist. I took advantage of this when it came to my metal and Plastic work for this project. I took a couple of old mattresses from a skip, stripped the fabric from the metal frames and modified them. I also collected plastic bottle tops and melted them together using a heat gun. I decided not to do any Ceramic work for this project as we currently have a problem with the Kilns.
Below are photographs of my processes:
For this project I wanted to collect a series of salvaged plastic objects and melt them together into a cylindrical ‘portal’ shape to suspend in the dark room so you have to step through it in order to enter the space.
I started out with plastic bottles, as shown:
Whilst melting these objects with my heat gun I experimented with the two different temperature settings- 350 degrees Celsius and 500 degrees Celsius, the close up images of the bottles where the plastic has turned a white ish colour/shade are the ones that have been melted at the higher temperature. It was through this material investigation that I realised that I only needed to use the heat gun at the lower temperature. I had a problem with the plastic bottles though- as they were so large, the way they melted couldn’t be predicted and I struggled to melt two or more of them together, I even tried joining two bottles together using pop rivets;
This still didn’t work!
I then started melting the bottle tops instead, as shown:
I found that the bottle tops melted in a more controlled way and I liked the textures produced, especially when layered together. I then wanted to see how easy it was to join multiple ones together in a more direct form, as shown:
I found that this worked really well and produced quite a strong hold/relationship together. From here I started making the basic shape for the ‘portal’.
If you look at the close up photos you can see the differences in textures between two types of Plastic and also the difference in the way they melt based upon the bottle tops thickness/composition.
Once I had made these much longer lengths of bottle tops they became much more fragile; the weight of the entire structure put a lot of pressure on each joint and so one of the straight lengths and one of the semi-circles broke into a few smaller lengths. I then realised that I would have to ‘reinforce’ the lengths further, as shown below by melting other tops on top and underneath.
Thus the resulting lengths look like this:
At this exact moment the structure hasn’t been fully joined together and placed in the dark space as part of the installation, but by tomorrow afternoon it will be finished and installed, an update will follow.
This particular Plastic project has taken a fair amount of time to make as I had to save up this number of tops as well as the melting and testing process.
For my metal piece I wanted it to reflect a part of me; I am a very messy person and I wanted to represent that by keeping one of the mattresses basic shapes to represent my bed, but then modify it so it looks like its morphed into a creature and has a mind of its own. Unfortunately I haven’t finished this piece in time as I have been very ill whilst working on this project, however what I have done so far is shown below:
I experimented with the material by trying to join it in different ways: Spot Welding, MIG Welding and binding it with wire.
These images above show the result of Spot Welding, the first two close ups show the result on a high and medium Voltage. As you can see it has completely melted the metal. The last image is Spot Welding on a low Voltage- the join didn’t hold and left a slight mark on the metal, as you may be able to see.
I then tried to MIG Weld the metal springs together:
The MIG Welding worked slightly better at different levels but it left the metal far too brittle and thus the springs snapped as shown in the last image (above). Thus I realised that I would have to bind each spring together with wire. Using this method the result is shown:
As you can see the end result is the basic mattress shape with ‘legs’ and ‘feet’, as if it’s sprouted them and is about to walk away. I would have liked to have continued this piece by bringing a face like structure arching over the bed frame, also made of springs.
Finally here is the string installation in order of being put up:
The last stage of my process was melting the plastic sections together and placing it in the installation space:
Once I had done this I went to pick the structure up and it snapped unfortunately, so I took the fragmented pieces (as shown below) and attached them to the wall by hanging them off of screws.
Once I had placed this final piece in I felt like an element of colour and texture was missing, so I placed a selection of brightly coloured fabrics on the floor to seem as though it is leaking in through the coloured doorway into the otherwise depressed space. The final piece is shown:
I hope you appreciated my installation Territory project documentation.