The second stage of the installation testing was with the real map string, checking out how the quality of the real material (colours, textures, lengths) affect the nature of the display.
I tried out three different experiments with the hanging, using the closest height I could find to the show space. I found a ceiling about 3m high which is only 50cm or so lower than the space, so not too bad an approximation.
Hanging as planned loose strings around a central core of 10 strings (those of “home”). I didn’t do much manipulation of how the strings fell, or how they unravelled on the floor.
Pros: Like the organic vibrancy of the main section, which shows off the loose strings really well. The way each string has a different layout, as per each different memory which is being invoked, I very much like too
Cons: Top doesn’t work for me, nor do I think the core works very well. I really don’t like the floor layout, just too incoherent and confused.
Making more of the core, and trying to rearrange the way the strings lay on the floor
Pros: Interesting link to material history – ropes etc
Cons: Everything else. Don’t think this works at all.
Going all the way into rope territory, twisting all of the map strings together into one laid up rope.
Pros: Rope texture is lovely, and the gathering of the string at the bottom I think works really well.
Cons: Looses the natural organic interest when it is all twisted and you begin to loose part of the beauty of the map string – similar to how the construction of the weaving works.
I think it was an incredibly useful exercise in working through the tests with the real material, despite my concerns over the delicacy of using the strings. There was really no way I could risk doing this type of thinking live, under pressure, during the show build itself.
As a solution, I will do one more test, using a combination of the rope in test three (for the top section), the middle loose, natural hanging from test one (for the middle section), and the bottom from test three.
What remains now is how I intend to seal the ends and hang the rope in the show space. Current thoughts are twining all of the ends together and using wither a butchers hook against an eyelet on the ceiling, or somehow tying the ends of the rope onto a tension wire. Bridget suggested getting a sample of rope ends to test first before trying in the real space. I also need to figure out how to make something to rest my book on next to the installation, so people can see it better than if I lay it flat on the floor.
6 days until show build
22 days until the show opens