Friday, 29 April 2016

3D scanning experiments

I have been experimenting with a 3d scanner, looking at the way in which objects are arranged randomly inside other vessels, for example, inside bags or baskets. The initial scanning requires patience and is not always successful. However, once imported into Maya, the scans can be manipulated, smoothed and adjusted to created an interesting, topographical surface of objects. 

This was the first attempt at scanning a shopping tote bag and its contents. Although the contents are not readily recognisable the overall surface is interesting and textural.

Not all scans are successful. If there is not enough light the scanner cannot pick up parts of the surface, resulting in either gaps, or black patches. The difficulty in scanning the interior of a vessel is that the computer struggles to construct the exterior shape. This can then distort the interior.

This was the most successful scan. You can clearly see the rollers and sponges inside the basket. The scanner picked up the holes in the basket. I am moving on to experiment with scanning both individual objects to recreate object displays and whole shelves to see if I can get an interesting surface to play with.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Acid Brass: The power of the mind map.

What is this unnecessary obsession with mind maps?

I have not used a mind map in about 10 years. I just do not organise my thoughts like that. Having said that there are some clearly recognisable benefits from structuring and mapping linking ideas to generate an overall well rounded and comprehensive argument or debate about a given topic.

During my research I have been focusing on collecting, categorising and organising objects, Why is the way we organise words any different? Can this method work for objects? or can the objects be represented by words and given a sense of their place within a collection through a mind map? After all a semantic network that can show relations between concepts can also show relations between objects? Tony Buzan, popular British psychologist popularised the term in the 1970's. He claimed that the viewer absorbed all the information in the mind map because it was in a non linear format. He argued that traditional outlines forced the reader to scan left to right and top to bottom, while mind maps encouraged viewers to scan the page in its entirety. Perhaps mind maps play a key part in the arrangement and organisation of objects to show the interconnecting relationships between the objects, their juxtaposition etc. it would be worth exploring this further.

Jeremy Deller, conceptual, video and installation artist, produced a mind map as part of a larger musical collaboration with the Williams Fairey Brass Band from Stockport.

Jeremy Deller: History of the World / Acid Brass 1997 - 2004

"I drew this diagram about the social, political and musical connections between house music and brass bands – it shows a thought process in action. It was also about Britain and British history in the twentieth century and how the country had changed from being industrial to post-industrial. It was the visual justification for Acid Brass. Without this diagram, the musical project Acid Brass would not have a conceptual backbone."

For more information about Jeremy Deller and his work visit his website.

For me, Deller's mind map strategy clearly indicates not only the historic, social and political links between the two genres but also a subtext about the reasons behind the project, his motivations and even aspirations. The mind map clearly and cleverly sets the tone for the project.

Although this Ted talk by Sir Ken Robinson Phd, innovative and creative educational leader is animated and includes pictures, there are similarities with that of the mind map. interlinking threads of ideas, arguments and discussions that weave together to create a whole. To find out more about Sir Ken Robinson visit his website.

There is something in this that could link to the composition and development of my exploration of collections.


Collection tales: David Heathcote

He collects broken objects, partly because it means he can own a Ming vase, without paying a fortune for it. He loves mending objects and plays a part in the salvation of an object. He collects birds and taxidermy, sometimes because of its aesthetic value, sometimes because of the stories around it. He bought a large collection of tropical birds, only because the label stated the creator was a barber. He bought a small taxidermy gold finch against a cornfield with a bright blue sky, slowly being eaten away by insects, from the inside. (Part of two separate collections; birds and broken things.) This collection includes a wooden carved bird, a child’s toy from a flea market in Morocco. The toy has two large holes in the bottom to insert sticks to hang the toy on a branch. The sticks act as weights, which make the bird rock gently in the tree. He also purchased a small British copper coin, from the same stall, which the locals used as a talisman to purify the blood. They hung it on their horses, and teenage boys.

He designs and organizes the collections of others. While working on an office, he purchased Danish, German and French modular shelving units. Amusingly, in organizing the original book collection, a second collection emerged, that of turn of the century European shelving units.

He talks fondly about sharing is collections with other, recounting donating a collection of radios to a museum in Hull. Sharing, trading and swapping, are ingrained in the ethos of collectors: having ‘borrowed’ an interesting pub sign whilst teaching in Southampton, he swapped this with a builder in York for a 16th century annotated Bible, which the laborer had purchased at a car boot sale. Saving it from the scrapheap, he realized it was part of a rare 3-volume set, which he then donated to York library.
‘There is a Karma associated with collecting.’
Owning it, however briefly, was reward enough. It seems, playing a part in the history and salvation of an object, becomes part of another collection, one of memories and experiences.

He also enjoys gardening and collects roses, which he always buys in multiples. When asked why roses specifically, he recounts an early memory of being taken for walks in his pram, and taking shade beneath a rose bush. Remembering wistfully, looking up through the dappled shade and the sweet aroma.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Post tutorial melaise

Post tutorial malaise…

I need to look more closely at what specifically interests me about objects. There is something interesting in removing an object from its surroundings and isolating it, putting it with other objects that constructs a new narrative around the object. The object becomes part of something else, part of something bigger than itself: part of a collection. In isolation, other properties are highlighted shapes, colours and textures. These are made more evident through comparison, differences and similarities between objects. Can the language of objects organization have transformative qualities on the original object? In being part of a collection can seemingly mundane objects become something else, something new? Do they transcend their origins, or does the symbiosis of collections creative the interest? The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Do we marvel at quantity rather than the individual?

Do different organization and display techniques make us read the narratives of collections in a different way? Can the collector influence how their collection is perceived and received by the way they choose to display their collections? Do objects respond to each other in the same way irrespective of their cajoling?

Maybe it would be interesting to have different people arrange the same objects to see if it said something about individual personalities and character traits.

This is less about the voice of the object and more about the organizational and categorising techniques of individuals.
I think I am more interested in what mundane collections say about people. I am definitely interested in random, unplanned collections. I do not want to look at replicas and repeats, collections of the same objects, like stamps or postcards, but how a series of seemingly unrelated objects become a collection because of their connection to the owner.

·         What they’ve bought and why?

·         Where they keep something?

·         How they organise their belongings? From everyday essentials to inspirational ephemera.
When collectors of ephemera describe their collections to others, each object is a point in history, an experience, a story. Each object holds emotional value through memory and association. What do objects do that photographs do not? Objects are tactile, haptic and experiential, the purpose of the function of the object can be evident in its surface, texture and aesthetics. Can an illustration ever truly capture the qualities of the real?

Can illustration make the real into something else, make the real surreal, take it beyond the real to transcend the real into something beyond, something other worldly and magical. Into a place of fantasy. This links with the original ideas and motivations of the Wunder Kammer, fantasy, intrigue and novelty.
How do you take a mundane object and make it interesting?  Does the interest only come from the association with other objects? Objects together is what elevates the mundane into a complex narrative about people’s lives.

The subtext or subconscious narrative of people’s lives through the examination of their collections, their belongings and their personal effects.

Objects can be a personality profile.


A dear friend of mine purchased a bag of stamps from a flea market in Nice in 2010. They have sat on her bookcase for 6 years neatly packed away in a plastic wallet gathering dust. She has no use for them and let them sit next to a jam jar of buttons and a Norwegian naïve style wooden lighthouse.

Here are some photographs of some of the nicest, lest damaged and most colourful. I wanted to organise them in numbers and then colours. Letters with two stamps, some with three. Gradual colour changes from pale cerise through to deep umber.

I particularly like the landscape stamp, it makes me think about the person who was sending the letter must have been in a hurry, maybe replying to an important letter, paying a bill, maybe they slipped, or they were on a train. Everything about the way the stamps have been handled, organised and stuck tells a little story.

Here I find the variety of franc marks and their positioning very interesting. Again it tells a story, but this time about the Clerk, their accuracy is telling, what type of day were they having?

Monday, 25 April 2016

Instagram Hashtag Poems

Social media is an integral part of our connected society. We organize and curate our lives online using hashtags to categories the events and experiences in our lives.


Vietnamese Saturday pancakes
Hong Kong food fotd.

walking Muiwoo the view Hong Kong

breakfast foodie fotd foodography
yum Jervois Street Sheungwan.

Elgin Street Hong Kong inspiration
Soho graffitiart art yellow
street art.

art graffiti graffitiart street art
inspiration Hong Kong Sheungwan

Inspiration Marc Jacobs upper west side
vintage orange yellow fabric textiles.

NYC Christmas decorations bauble
festivities red sparkle lights inspiration.

knitwear sweaters stitch love this.

Love this vm Christmas creative
window display.

Coach vm creative window display
gold reflections.

Kit Katie 91
Nervous but excited
Early in the morning we don’t eat
Leaving present Jo Malone pomegranate noir
The Jungle book bare necessities vans
10 years panic at the disco.

                                     cliff edge
                                             coast East Sussex
Beachy Head cycling cycling shoes
road cycling seaview cliff.

good morning morning coffee
ground coffee kitchen mess Turkish blue
                 stainless steel.
                                       Sunday roadride cycling
spring cycling Oakley jawbreaker
sunny Sunday.

weekend ride mountain bike banana
banana bike rainy Saturday raindrops
yellow forks contrast colour pop
South Downs spring cycling April showers.


lowtide underwater world East Sussex
outside is free Sussex heritage coast
new shoes what’s walking?

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Lists of collections

London Gentleman and Adventurer: Walter Cope
An African Charm made of teeth, the twisted horn of a Bull seal. A unicorn's tail. A Flying rhinoceros (unremarked), a mirror which both reflects and multiplies objects. A sea halcyon's nest. A sea mouse.
Mullaney 1983
Charles Wilson Peale: 
A cow with five legs, six feet and two tails, a petrified nest, a devil fish, trompe l'oeil paintings, a speaking tube installed in a lion's neck, tattooed human heads and 'experiments in light, sound and clockwork motion.'
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung, an alligator stuff'd, and other skins of ill-fitted fishes; and about his shelves a beggarly account of empty boxes, green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds, remnants of packed thread, and old cakes of roses, were thinly scatter'd to make up a show.
Shakespeare (Act V Scene1)
The Rape of the Lock: 
Unnember'd treasures ope at once, and here the various offerings of the world appear; from each she nicely culls with curious toil, and decks the goddess with the glitter'g spoil. This casket Indian glowing gems unlocks, and all Arabia breathes from yonder box. The tortoise here and elephant untie, transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white. Here flies of pins extend their shining rows, puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux.
Pope (Canto 1 lines 129-138)