Creating the Final Installation 

After I had considered the layout of the chairs, and the final number I wanted to use – 8 chairs in a square shape with a space in the middle, so that it looks like a group of people having a conversation and interacting with each other.

The sketchbook page below shows my consideration of the layout of the chairs and how it changed and evolved over time to become what it is now.


After I had decided on a final layout for the chairs, I started to think about what I wanted the surrounding to look like. I was very keen to try to get as clear, white surroundings as I possibly could as I don’t want any of the attention to distract from the sculptures.

I bought some white lino tiles, which I played around with in the space that I had to see how many tiles I would need and what shape I would like them to make, so that I could have a white floor space for the piece.

Initially, I wanted to cover the whole floor space with tiles, however when I saw how the tiles looked with an edge to them and the chairs on top I really liked the differentiation between the piece of art and the rest of the room as the white tiles contain the piece and give it a border which I think has ultimately lifted the whole piece.


I am going to play the sound clip through speakers that will be connected to my phone for the final critique, as I think that it is important that the sound of the voices radiate through the room so that everyone has no choice but to here the sound clip, I am also keen to have the sound clip playing on a loop for the final show so that people can listen back over things and so the atmosphere of the piece is not lost if the there is a pause before the sound clip plays again.

Video explanation of why I decided to put together my final piece the way that I did. 

Overall, I am pleased with how the installation had pulled together, for the time that I had. I think that the piece now has some cohesion and clarity that it lacked before I finished the final installation and their was just 8 chairs in a space.

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Week 5 

I started of the week by thinking about the different categories that I would want to incorporate into my final piece, making sure to think about all of the variety that I wanted to present though the chairs. I think that I decided upon the types of people that I wanted represented in the sculptures based on who had the most interesting things to say when I spoke to them and I want all of the different sculptures to represent different groups that are all very different from each other, I had initially wanted 16 different categories represented through the chairs but then I made the decision that having only 9 chairs would mean that I would have more time to focus on all of the chairs individually, so that every detail was exactly how I wanted without having to worry about having to spread my time to thin and all of the sculptures not being to the same standard. In the end when I started painting the chairs I and I started to create a square shape which had been my intention all along I discovered that I would not have enough room to fully display all of the sculpture in the way that I would want if I created a solid square of 9 chairs, and so I thought that if I had 8 chairs instead, and I put them in the shape of a square with a space in the middle this would actually look a lot better, because would seem as the figures were almost interacting with each other and having a conversation.

The final categories of people that I wanted to represent through the sculpture were:

  1. Middle Aged Men who have had a career and now they have the resources to fund a comfortable life style
  2. Indecisive deep thinkers, like Laura who is the sculpture that I have already created, basically she represents individualistic people who are reluctant to make black and white decisions
  3. Older Lady – someones Grandma who is stuck in the past and can not fully comprehend the changing times and is therefore not always politically correct
  4.  Middle aged women, who have children and are at the center of family life, they may have done some work here and there but they are not the main breadwinner
  5. Young boy who has not developed a fully fledged understanding yet about societal norms, still sees things in black and white and who comes from a generation that has grown up with technology so that their mobile phone and play station have become extensions of themselves
  6. Young working woman who had children very young, is not with the father of these children and is working hard each day for little reward
  7. Young man who is a bit of a ‘Lad’ likes to go out a lot, have a good time and party hard
  8. The last category is a is a middle aged farmer/ country dwelling person who lives of the land and has chickens in their backyard

Although I have obviously missed out big groups in society, what I really want to get across in this piece is the diversity of people who all have different priorities in life based upon their upbringing, their socio-economic factors and so the list goes on. The group that I have brought together cover age, class, ignorance, education levels, gender and many other factors. In other words, it wouldn’t matter how many different types of people that I talked to there would always be someone else with a different opinion on the matter. This is something that I would consider in more detail if I had a longer time to complete the project as I would try and talk to more people and create more sculptures to try and encompass the idea that the subject, Altruism, is a topic that covers the whole of society on many different levels, but what I want to do is put across the point that everyone interacts with people slightly differently and will have contrasting opinions.

Firstly I thought about the category of middle aged men that I wanted to create based upon some men that I have met in pubs and through my dad’s friends and my uncle. They all answered the questions similarly saying they would prefer to give money to an animal charity because humans have the ability to help themselves, and on the whole  they would all rather give a gift because they have the means to buy what they want. When it came to selecting the chair that I wanted to use, I noticed my dad who is also a middle aged man sitting on an old wooden deck chair in the garden one day when it was warm weather,  I noticed the sturdiness of the deck chair, with a strong build and I also noticed the fact that it was very square shape it immediately made me think that it would be the perfect fit for the chair that I wanted to use to represent a middle aged man.

The next chair that I decided to use was an old wooden school chair which I found in the garage of our house. It has a very square shape to it but is also a fairly petite chair which I think would much more likely be associated with a child than an adult the shape of it made me think that it would be perfect for the young boy sculpture that I wanted to create.I also found an old kitchen chair in the garage that I thought would be perfect for the middle aged country/ farmer sculpture that I wanted to create. It has a round shape to it whilst also being very simple and functional, which I think would fit in perfectly with the character of a farmer.

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(this a photo of the Kitchen chair after paint)

I began to paint all of the chairs white. Firstly, I would sand down the chairs to give them a key and then I washed them all with sugar water to get all of the dust and residue dirt of them. I then painted a layer of primer on each of the chair and began to paint them white. To get the full effect of the white that I wanted I had to paint them with more than one layer most of the chairs required 3/4 coats.

I found a bar stool at the local pub which I was allowed to use, and with this chair I thought that it had specific qualities that would mean that the chair would immediately have connotations of a specific type of person without the need for extra explanation as bar stools are found in less places than most chairs.

(bar stool before and after being painted and the photo on the left was also used as a reference photo when considering the size  and height of the spine that I screwed onto the stool)

I knew that I wanted a big chair with a lot of character for the chair representing an old lady, so that it would have a presence and a certain kind of grandeur to it, so that it would command respect,  like older folk often try to do.  I decided that I wanted to use a wooden rocking chair that is a fairly large size, and has a commanding presence in comparison to some of the other chairs that I am going to use.

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(after the rocking chair had been painted)

For the Middle aged women, I found a chair that my next door neighbors were going to put in the tip, which I thought would be perfect as the middle aged woman chair, as it has a lot of soft circular shapes within it that give it a feminine quality. I also was considering this chair for the the young working class woman but then I found a wicker chair at a second hand furniture shop, which is very full bodied, with intricate weaving, and I felt as though the chair had a kind of comforting supportive feel to it corresponding with the way in which the young working class mother takes pride in making her surroundings as comfortable and supportive as possible.

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(chair to be used for the middle aged women sculpture after being painted white)

After deciding upon all of the chairs that I want to use, and once I had finished painting them all in the last week of the Easter, I am now finally ready to start constructing the rest of the sculpture on each of the chairs and making all of the key decisions through experimentation about what will work with the sculptures and what won’t. I think that as it comes to the end of the Easter, I have completed an important step of the project, so that now I am ready to move onto the next part of the project, and although I still have got a lot of work to do, I have also completed a lot of processes that are key to moving onto the next stage of building my sculptures.

 

Week 2

After spending the first week of my project conducting in-depth research, by reading various books and articles, I began to consider how I could put my research into practice by creating some kind of fake campaign that would spark a reaction from people, so that I could then ask them questions about how they feel about helping others and their thoughts and opinions on various charities and campaigns.

I wanted to try to think of some kind of campaign, which had a ridiculous message, but that people would buy into if they only looked at the campaign on a surface level. One idea that I had was ‘save horses from being forced to sleep on itchy hay ’ although this may not have been the best message, as it is fairly obvious to a large proportion of the population that hay is not uncomfortable to horses the principle of the example suggests someone on the street telling a story about the harsh reality of horses living conditions whether real or not, would draw some people in to support the campaign, even if this is just through a simple signature. I think that this would prove a point or at least give me more insight into the ways in which people support campaigns or charities, by either, ignoring it altogether, stopping and signing up without questioning or stopping, questioning the charity or campaign and then deciding whether  it is a cause worth supporting or not. I think that it is also important to note that asking people to support a charity out on the street is one of many ways that people are approached or targeted by charities, and that my method would only culminate curtain responses, as for example, whilst someone might walk past you on the street, if they received a leaflet through the door they might take a look and invest time and money into the charity. However, for my specific project its success somewhat lies in me being able to go out and talk to a wide range of people from different classes and cultures so that I can see if it is possible to categorize, find trends and come to some kind of coherent conclusion about altruism, and its realistically as a concept, and learning all of the individual opinions that people have.

I wanted to try to gauge how likely it is for someone to support a campaign in order to clear their conscious, without having any kind of real vested interest or concern for the charity or cause.

I feel as though what I really want to express and show through this project is that to some extent there is as systematic failure in the way that our society treats charity work.  To me there is a sense that as a society we manage all of the charity work so that people can feel better about themselves for donating or raising a certain amount of money and then not worry or think about that charity for at least another year. I am particularly thinking about ‘Children in Need’ and ‘Red Nose Day’ as our country seems to celebrate those for raising any amount of money. But I think why should we celebrate this person? Should they not want to help children in need without any public celebration or mass counting of money. Of course, this is a massive generalisation, and there are many people who truly are invested in helping others and supporting charities, but I am trying to see how people’s attitudes towards charities differ from person to person depending on their personality, their socio economic factors, and suchlike.

To gather information in the most effective way, about people’s priorities when it comes to helping in society, I began to create a series of campaigns and scenarios that I  was going to ask people to compare and rank in order of importance. I hoped that this mightgive me clarity on which idea to use in a fake campaign.

They were:

‘Giving horses itchy hay must stop now’

‘Raise MP’s salary to £100,000 per year’

‘Help those with paedophilic thoughts get the support that they need’

‘Gain awareness, respect and support for those with mental health issues’

‘ Help women travel to worn torn countries and support women who are less fortunate than them’

‘Stop letting people walk across sand dunes as they are destroying birds homes’

‘Make drama, music and art compulsory on the leaning syllabus in school instead of maths and physics’

 

The reasons that I choose all of these scenarios, as fake campaigns are very specific, some of them seem like obvious choices over others, but this is simply a diversion to see how people view all of the other ideas for campaigns, which fall into a bit more of a grey area. I included examples of animals in need, along with humans in need as the contrast between the two and which people choose can bring up interesting suggestions about their personalities, like wether they are more community minded or not. The inspiration for choosing animals vs humans as examples came from me reading the Guardian’s ranking list for the ‘top 1000 charities’ based purely on ‘donations’. I was surprised to see that the Royal Society  for the Protection of Birds was 15th on the list, above the British Heart Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care.  I thought that is experiment would also suggest something about each individual’s personality, conscience and intelligence levels.

However, after counducting this experiment a few times,the results from various people were not as inspiring or interesting as I thought that they would be.  I began to feel as though I had no clear direction for the project, interms of an artistic response. My aim for the next week is to start to formulate a way in which I could turn my concept and detailed research into a piece of physical art.