Newsletter No.4- 14th May – 8th June Contents
1. The production of our art installation 2. Art & Sound Event presenting Eboman 3. My personal Growth & Reflection over the past few months
Production We began the production phase later than we had hoped after our Blue Energy concept with Wetsus fell through. We knew that we wanted to make something using unwanted materials and for very little money. Our clients loved our original idea and we all agreed that reusing canal bikes to make music was still the best route for our project. After collecting as much old bicycles from around Leeuwarden we purchased the tools necessary to cut the bicycles up into different parts. Our client, Bouke, decided that he wanted something ‘abstract’ from us. He really liked our original concept ideas but challenged us to think a little more creatively with the bicycles. He told us that “our sculpture did not have to look like anything seen before”. So we all went back to the drawing board and began thinking of ways of getting water to travel back and forth through the sculpture without focusing too much on appearance. We made drawings and a few miniature prototypes.
After we had developed a few solid ideas of transporting water through the bicycles we began construction. Bouke very kindly allowed us to use his workshop to construct the sculptures. The next step was cleaning the bicycles before cutting them up using hacksaws and angle grinders. This was a long and tiresome process. None of us had vast experience in construction. It took a long time taking bike components apart and rearranging them.
We were also very limited with the selection of tools at our disposal. We decided we did not want to use a single part that did not originally belong to a bike in the finished sculpture. This made things a lot more challenging but added greatly to the overall concept. Conor very cleverly developed a way of making multiple bikes stand at once by simply rearranging the bicycles carrier.
We began to glue tire rubber to the wheels of the bikes. The rubber would act as a pulley when transporting water.
The next phase was water. We visited several hardware stores and browsed the web for manual water pumps. The water pumps would be interactive. They would allow members of the public to pump water up from the canal and into our sculpture. The water would then flow through the bike frames and down onto the wheels. This
would cause the wheels to rotate and in turn create a cacophony of sound. We eventually found a suitable pump in a hardware store in Leeuwarden. We began testing the pump to see if it was strong enough to transport water upwards of 4 metres. We knew an electronic water pump would be capable of this but they were too loud and would block out the sound of our sculpture. Things looked good at first but after hours upon hours of testing we discovered that pumping water manually was not an option. The pump was capable of pumping water upwards of 2 metres but began to go out of control after that and water would pour everywhere. We were all very disappointed but would not give up. We asked Bouke for advice as we were running out of time with the project. He told us that our alternative idea (wind power) could work even better. We had tampered with wind previously by putting tape on the spokes of each wheel. Wind would then built up between spokes and push them forward. This would cause the entire bike wheel to rotate. Unfortunately this would take any interaction with the public away, but we had no choice.
With only 2 days to go before the project deadline we worked tirelessly around the clock. We spent 13 hours at a time rearranging the bikes to adapt to wind power. Every single wheel had to be taken off the bikes and cleaned repeatedly so that the wind would rotate the wheels better. This was a very delicate process as many of the wheels components were in terrible condition. Sell tape was then applied to each spoke on the wheel in a specific way. It was crucial that each bike spoke was taped in a way that would create most energy.
With all the tape now applied and each wheel cleaned we could begin assembly. We had created 5 separate sculptures in total.
It was important that the sculptures would piece together to create one large art installation. We began putting them together outside in the open air so that we could see how the wheels would act in the wind. This took a few hours because we had to ensure that the completed sculpture was structurally sound. The last thing we wanted is for the sculpture to fall on someone!
After securing each sculpture to one another we had only one big job left....music! This was relatively straight forward. We knew what we wanted all along. Bike bells, brake lines, tire and break levers were placed beside the wheels. When the wheels began to rotate they would hit off these parts and make different sounds. This was a lot of fun as we got to experiment with making different types of beats. Once the sounds were complete, so was the project! We transported the sculpture to NHL where it was showcased for 3 days. We were all very happy in the end as a lot had went wrong during production but we kept with it and made something we were all proud of. The public seemed very interested and gave us very positive feedback. People seemed to like the idea of making something beautiful from what was once considered waste. One passer-by even offered to purchase the sculpture.
The team assembling it at NHL.
The finished installation.
So that was it. 4 months of hard work had flew by. We were finished!
The Poster and Flyer Designs for our promotion:
Also I made a short production video of the phases of our project along with a video of the different sounds made by our art installation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TatW9N3Vu94&list=PLAD0BD9E6DBE9D48B&index =8&feature=plpp_video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=preeAf0ihEk&feature=youtu.be We also created a blog about our whole project, so you can check this out at: http://irishinleeuwarden.wordpress.com/
Eboman Art & Sound Audio Event 31st of May ‘Watch that Sound’ An event organised by the minor we are studying Art & Sound which took place in the theatre of NHL. The special guest that was playing at our event was Eboman. Eboman investigates the possibilities opened up by the medium of sampling. He uses SenS in his interactive live performances (among other applications). The way Eboman is able during these performances to include video of the audience – recorded live during the performance by cutting up, modifying and mixing the images and sound in 3D – is unique. To do this, he makes use of his SenSorSuit, literally a suit fitted with sensors, which enables him to control the advanced options offered by SenS in real time, using his body movements. Eboman also uses SenS to produce experimental audio-visual sample compositions. The general public is invited to get involved in this process through the website www.wikivideo.info where everyone can help him collect interesting video samples. He plays the resulting compositions as DVJ in clubs and at festivals in an explosive, danceable new mix. The collective name for all of Eboman’s work is Sample madnesS.
Eboman setting up for the event.
I took a video of him recording video clips of the audience in NHL an you can see how he by cuts up, modifies and mixes the images and sounds into a unique music clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htSBiETOQsE&feature=youtu.be
Looking Back Over The Past Few Months
Growth and Reflection By Siobhan O Sullivan
March My first impressions of Leeuwarden were really good. Itâ€™s a really picturesque city and I could see us all settling in here really well for the coming months that were about to follow. When we began college, I noticed a huge difference to how they study here compared to at home in Limerick, Ireland. Here you rely on yourself and your own goals to push you to complete your work. At first I thought this was going to be a bad thing. As I am not used to motivating myself to learn something new, something I wanted to learn completely of my own accord. I thought it was going to be difficult being in a different country for the first time with friends, that this would easily distract me and I would find it hard to motivate myself. But after meeting with our teacher Suzanne and the rest of our class mates, I noticed how positive everyone is here and how helpful they were towards us in deciding what we wanted to learn while we were here. It was nice and there positivity rubbed off on me and I was really looking forward to beginning our new project. We decided on the Future Lab Leeuwarden project. It was a wide scope project; we could produce pretty much anything we wanted, an event, an art installation, a movie, VJ- visuals, wild beaming, video mapping and more. I had no knowledge or experience with any of these mediums, so anything we did choose to do would all be new to me. I was excited at the idea of learning something new and creative, especially for an event that was going to take place in Leeuwarden in June. When we met with our clients for the first time, they explained to us that they only allowed us to do the project because they were interested on getting an outside view on the city of Leeuwarden. We were happy to hear this as for the coming few weeks we knew our clients would be interested in what we had learned and what we noticed to be strange and different about Leeuwarden compared to home in Ireland.
April After we had finished the research stage of the project we had to begin concepting. It was really interesting learning so much about Leeuwarden. If we had not participated in this project we probably would not have done such extensive research about Leeuwarden. It was fun learning new things about the new city we were living in. Concepting was also new to me. At home we would come up with a quick idea for a project, and if it sounded good then our teacher would give us the go ahead. Here it was different, we really needed to have a reason behind every idea we came up with. The question always asked was WHY? At first it was difficult as I always came up with an idea first then try to get some reasoning to go behind it afterwards. But after awhile I got the swing of it and noticed an improvement in my concepting skills. Thinking of the reasons first and then think of a creative idea or installation to portray this reasoning. Having real clients was also a good experience for me. I learned a lot to about how to communicate with professionals in the right manor. As meetings progressed with them I found myself opening up much more and expressing my views and opinions to them. I was really happy about this growth as at home in college, I am always the one to hide away and let others do the talking. I didn’t have much confidence in my opinions. I also think that these meeting with the clients improved my presentation skills and speaking out in front of others. We had a final presentation of our concepts to the clients and 40 other students, and I took part in the presentation. I was nervous but I still got up and done it, which I was proud of.
May We are in full swing with the project now. But we are having a lot of difficulties with our concept. We were going to partner with Wetsus, but they gave us the bad news that they wouldn’t have the equipment available for us for this month. We were all really disappointed as we had high hopes for it all working out really well. We had to inform our clients also of the news to which they basically told us to go back to the drawing boards and start from scratch. This was difficult for us as a team. We were now under pressure to come up with a new concept in the Space of 24hrs. We were all creatively stressed. I found it difficult to concept under pressure. I needed time to develop something that would be good, and I didn’t want to produce anything that wasn’t up to scratch. Being the project manager I had to make sure everyone in the team attempted to come up with new ideas. Luckily I had some strong creative minds in my team, so we had a few new ideas for the following day when we had to meet with the clients again. If I learned anything from this
experience is that you should always have a backup plan or idea if all fails. Always be prepared for the worst. Besides this I have really noticed a change in my organisational skills. Being the project manager has led me to this. I now actually enjoy being the project manager and attending meetings on behalf of the team. At the beginning when I was chosen to be PM I wasn’t too happy about it, I was kind of pressured into it. But now I am glad and finding being the leader of a group has led me to become a lot more confident. June We worked under a lot of pressure in the final 2 weeks of the project. The guys in the group were responsible for most of the production work of the art installation as they had a better idea and hand working with tools. This is one thing I was disappointed with. I wish I had more of a part in the build of the project. The guys didn’t think me and Rachel were capable of participating in the build so they sometimes didn’t include us when they had new ideas to build different parts of the installation. All was going well until this point. There was a divide in the team. I found it even more difficult to lead and direct everyone in this situation when the guys had their own opinions and work methods. I didn’t let this affect my work though and I carried on with the promotional side of the project. It was a learning experience though; every team working together will have their arguments and splits. But I think it’s how you overcome them and keep on working together that is important. Reflecting back on my whole experience here I have to say it has been a learning curve. I have noticed a big change in my confidence and my communication with new people and also with professional clients. I now have a feel of how working in the real environment would be. My creativity has also been refreshed. I have seen and learned a whole new way of how to come with new creative ideas and concepts for projects. This will help me a lot in the coming months for coming up with a proposal for my FYP in Ireland. Overall I am delighted I choose to study abroad, I meet so many interesting and friendly people during my stay. Everyone is so positive and I will now go home a much more optimistic person. I am also very optimistic that I will be back to the Netherlands soon, very soon!!