MArch Diary

Epping Forest | 29-09-2021

my speculation on the city begins as an emotional rollercoaster from my reflection where my approach was one of a multisensory study, and where i expressed my feelings through a piece of writing while describing my senses.

this journey starts at epping forest: a field trip in a late summer day which consisted of exploring and finding ourselves within nature. as an escape to the normality of the city life, this trip aimed to a realisation of how the human disrupts the natural habitat of other living organisms. throughout this hike, it was noted that the context of a natural environment can have a remarkable impact on the human’s mental health, whether it’s done through sounds, through brise, through its soothing colour pallet, or even through the interaction and care the human has towards the organisms around them. it was notable to see how each individual retreats to this space as a way of comforting their routines and becoming more and more aware of the impact that nature and its contextual characteristics have on one’s behaviour.

upon this visit, it was tasked to have a moment of self-realisation and to quiz ourselves on 3 different categories to adjective our discoveries based on our individual actions and preferences
delicate: i'd rather be cardboard; i think in squiggles; i am more attracted to durability
empathetic: little and often; house cat; i eat for pleasure
caring: i always turn up on time; unfamiliar places are to be discovered with others

and lastly to identify how to each individual would choose their means of construction or detail elements: I would categorise my material library by durability + structural integrity

slug's view | 11-10-2021

the slug's view is a paradox to my human perception of space and it illustrates how space can be interpreted in different ways depending on the individual's sensory habilities.

slugs’ bodies are made up mostly of water and soft tissues so there's this presence of fragility and care although their bodies' texture can also be quite crude and raw, I found it quite an interesting and balanced contrast.

empathy is normally a human-associated feeling and I found somewhat hard to associate it to a mollusc, although slugs have this period of time during seasons when there is abundance of living resources where they tend group up and share those resources with each other and look out for one another, almost like a generous behaviour for a survivalist organism.

and as for caring, i would identify it more with how slugs unintentionally care for their environment: they're not destructive species, they harvest for nourishment and self-sustainment. they're not shelter builders: they shelter under tree bark, fallen logs, rocks or man-made structures, such as planters, in order to retain body moisture and nothing else.

and within that research i began to pin down the human perspective of a slug is: what and how they see, hear and they smell. in order to see, terrestrial gastropods have these eye spots at the tips of their front tentacles which can only capture shades of light and dark: almost like a black and white vision. they're nocturnal animals so they mainly navigate by smell and touch.

they don't have a hearing sense, so they are limited to vibrations of hard sounds to distinguish the proximity of where these are being emitted from, and they can feel those through their tentacles and foot. and although they don't have a nose, and they breath through a skin pore located on the back of their "head", they can sense odours through sensory neurons they have located in their olfactory organs in the tips of their tentacles, that way they can track food and/or trails of any nearby prey.

with the context of that analysis i then attempted at reproducing these senses from a slug's perspective. i recorded a slug's path i found in my back yard and produced a 2 minute video representing each aspect of my research, starting with the way a slug sees in black and white, only being able to distinguish shades of light and dark. and i edited the background noise of that video to only identify loud bangs or close-by noises the slug would be able to identify through vibrations.

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portable ecosystem | 18-10-2021

the portable eco-system interprets the correlation between human interaction with space through senses and emphasising the kinaesthetic learning of space and how these have an influence on behaviour. to the extent of initiating a multisensory design aspect on which the user is taken from their natural environment to one curated through sound, light, smell, and texture.

to achieve this outcome, the eco-system is resembled through a seamless MDF cube where interventions have been made by the various organisms at task: bamboo shoots outgrowing and piercing through the top of the enclosed cubic shape; pine scent spread throughout the edges and surfaces of the piece; slug slime (vaseline) veiledly covering the rough surface of the interior bamboo shoots; slug-made sounds playing out the walled box; and the various moonlight colours shinning out from the bottom interior of the square block, while reflecting on its inside surfaces.

the interaction with the piece was unpredictable: as expected. individuals each react in different ways to the unknown, some tend to think the worst imaginable, some tend to not be frightened. to this extent, we asked that people note down their feelings and thoughts as they would interact with the eco-system: what they imagined was inside before approaching it, what they felt by interacting with it, and their post-realisation to the explanation of the piece. most felt uncomfortable, disgusted, repulsed. some immediately removed their hands upon touching the vaselined surfaces inside the box.

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convicts | 25-10-2021

the contribution to the Carnival of Crisis which expresses the need to break the current vicious transactional relationship between humans and nature. human survival depends on nature yet they are still driving their own extinction, resulting with the current climate crisis. a lot of damage has been done, but this choreograph emphasises that change is still possible if collectively, humans re-elevate nature to the position it should be in.

the choice of props and costumes relied heavily on a play on symbolism, popular culture and subtle elements that evoke specific feelings to catch the viewers attention and send the message across. dressed in a black and white striped old-timey prisoner outfit (commonly associated with criminals in popular culture), with cattle bells tied around our necks, and dragging along a "prisoners ball" - which was replaced with forest elements to evoke the weight nature has on human survival and their co-dependence with it.

the performance followed 3 steps:
• to tie our own hands to one same chain in a similar choreographed way
• to walk in a procession, in a straight line, all tied together and bound at the legs as part of the carnival
• to end on a semi-positive note while still being a call to immediate action as we finally detach ourselves from our self-inflicting chaining, get rid of our criminal costumes and re-elevating nature to its righteous position

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reflection | 01-11-2021

my reflection on the performance consists of my consideration for the space around me, the temperature and weather that place within, its context, its surrounding sounds. this piece is an expression of the significance of my body, my feelings of discomfort, my ongoing thoughts, my breathing, and the voices inside my head.

with this script began my interest for multisensory spatial design: how space and its contextual integrity and characteristics can influence on one’s behaviour through senses. the playing of sounds can disturb an environment and take on public attention. the physical attributes of a surface can redirect you through a different route. contextual scents can suggest emotions or nostalgia, like the smell of naphthalene that takes you back to your grandma’s house. colour palettes can identify usage or direction.

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unfold | 10-11-2021

"capitalist societies have a transactional relationship with nature: nature and non-human living beings have value when useful to the system. corporates usually own, exploit and fight-over what it commonly referred to as “natural resources” and in the process, ecosystems are destroyed. acts of re-planting trees and using that concept an environmentally conscious material is essentially selfish. using and manipulating nature for a human’s benefit is an egocentric behaviour which originally stems from western colonialism."

unfold resulted from the post-reflection of the if the initial proposition towards the Carnival of Crisis. as a theme of Murmuration and procession, unfold performed as a resemblance of the capitalist society activities’ impact on nature: to give voice to the forest and encourage people to remember it, this recital delivers a message approaching the London citizens to re-evaluate the impact of overharvesting on the planet. by parading down the streets of the city and staging at the centre of Trafalgar Square, the aim was achieved by grabbing the audience’s attention through the curated loud sounds of harvesting, deforestation and wildfires playing out of a carry-on speaker, as well as the formal looks of white collars and sunglasses on a rainy day, and the worshiped palm leaf which was carried raised up above eye-level.

the play then consisted of a narrative of death and blind to the unethical actions of overharvesting the palm leaf, while 2 members blindfolded with money printed bandanas and deafened by ear defenders ripped, cut and beat-up this palm leaf to the sounds of dubstep and pre-recorded messages of violence. the third member of the crew played part of the culprit, standing there watching it happen, and handing out tools for the action (blindfolds, ear defenders, spray paint). upon wrecking this leaf, the 2 members’ blindfolds fall off – initiating a moment of realisation of guilt. they stand to kneel in act of remorse, as the sounds shift to a calming nature ambiance, and the voices soothe to a message of hope.

due to private ownership and security over Trafalgar Square, the play was put to a stop moments before its ending and the message of hope was never achieved.

stagecraft | 22-11-2021

interactions between architecture and movement have always been a personal interest: how sites are given purpose and that objective is questioned or challenged by their users. the human movement has a clear and extensive impact on how space is designed, and stagecraft allows to evaluate how that activity can be unpredictable and how it’s reflected through architecture.

the brief was designed alongside the MA fashion department for a collaborated production of the london fashion week catwalk happening in February 2022. to be sited in King’s Cross, the crossing of Granary Square would host an event for 21 chosen fashion students, and 2 shops located in Stable Street, N1C to accommodate the remaining 34 students’ work as a static exhibition. the sited event would remain private and limited to 300-400 invitees, as well as livestreamed to a global public.

the production of space included the arrangement of seating, flooring, VIP assignment, livestreaming angle propositions, invitation designs, and critical framework. a challenge was set to bring back certain fashion behaviours, such as photography spot poses, and the idea of the backstage becoming the frontstage was introduced as a general theme. climate change and the UAL institution’s agenda were to be addressed: decolonising, decarbonising, social.

the gucci love parade 2021 that took place in Hollywood, LA was used as a precedent for its exclusive characteristics: a semi-public event which took place in the streets of the hollywood walk of fame, stating the importance and distinctiveness of the event, with backstage set in the TCL Chinese Theatre, a space which, in itself, would be able to host the entire event. the props used for sitting and lighting embraced the theme of film: gucci labelled hollywood director chairs; movie set lighting along the walk of fame; movie gala red carpets and spotlights; striking phrases such as “unconscious wants to forget” and “is my body” displayed on retail lightboards - everything to set the scene of this unforgettable event.

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glitch | 29-11-2021

"glitch may be best known from its role in electronic music and digital composition, but it is equally—and more commonly—a part of the everyday visual engagement with computers. the technical aspects of digital technology—pixelated images that re/compose reality as a juxtaposition of discrete fragments—suggests a translation of visual space into a virtuality, cyberspace, that instead of being continuous is shot through with errors and failures of various types."

building upon the concept of disruption, multisensory design and the ideology of the glitch, a composition was made for the catwalk space applying disturbance to the floor surfaces through lumps – something that was inspired by the saint laurent spring summer 2021 set in the dunes of North Africa – which would consist of a soft material (such as sand) distributed across the catwalk runaway area and covered with a soft surface (such as a carpet, or rubber flooring) to allow for foot casts to be printed by the models while still providing a safe surface for all kinds of footwear (or none even). these manmade dunes would also provide guidance to the runway route which was to be differentiated to a traditional straight-line catwalk. and to continue with the theme of multisensory design, a proposition was made to the lighting structures where these would shine onto fabric hangings/panels which would run across the width of the catwalk, enclosing the event area. these fabrics would have a translucent characteristic and would be printed in various colours to resemble a holographic glitch over the disruptive dunes.

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lumps | 01-12-2021

the lumps model moved on past the feedback of the review to the catwalk design – although it needed refinement. the dunes were to be taken higher than initially proposed by adding staging structures under the soft elements, keeping the original concept of the lumps guiding the runway models but also providing the seating element needed to the audience and spectators. these staging components would be of different heights or stacked onto each other below the soft materials which had now been proposed to be sandbags – in order to still achieve the casting concept – and overlayed with fabrics.

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choreography + staging | 06-12-2021

choreographies were discussed to continue the theme of disruption from the status quo. the MA Fashion had become too comfortable with doing the same thing every year and had a desire for a change. the proposal was then to have the models perform a 8-shape runway around the lumps and head out towards Granary Square through the main doors of the Central Saint Martins building, coming then back around through the west side straight across the runway and stand on the largest lump proposed on the east side of the crossing.

the lumps were consequently redesigned to consist of only staging platforms and to lose the idea of soft surfaces. these were rearranged across the event area alongside the choreography planning, and identified with number of staging modules, heights, usage (seating, access, photographers, etc) and assorted elements.

to imitate these structures, since there were no staging modules available for testing, tables and chairs were stacked in the allocated forms and assessed for accessibility, visibility and hierarchy of these modules and their designations.

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stable street, n1c | 13-12-2021

stable street came to plan. the static event was to house 34 students and their collections of 4 to 5 garments each: a total of 170 clothing garments to be displayed in a 300sqm space in a manner that would not resemble a clothing market. arrangements were placed on how clothing racks could be elevated using tables, plinths and other methods, as well as a scaffolding structure to be recreated using said racks.

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racks + props | 10-01-2022

on a scavenger’s hunt experiment around the campus, racks and other props were found in the Fashion department which were taken outside onto the core area of the building and displayed to match the previously thought-out modules for the stable street spatial design. these racks were disassembled and reassembled to create a continuous infrastructure that could possibly run across the designated space, building on different heights for hanging the 170 garments and space for potential accessories. it was also noted that the racks available around campus (counted over 60) were of different types and measurements which would have to be considered when planning out the final proposal.

alongside the clothing racks, there were also found high backboards which would be used for display of information or directions across campus – these could take place in the infrastructure to be planned for separation of areas or other means.

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jack o'brien | 19-01-2022

the workshop with Jack O’Brien became the starting point and the breakthrough to the creation of all pre-planned ideas and concepts to come live later in this project. with the help of getting allocated space to work on and the accessibility to various props from around campus, design elements and strategies were explored in ways that would further benefit the production of the show. Jack shared his experience in sculpture making and exhibition design through feedback and suggestions for each module that was produced, alongside ideas for potential components that could be explored in the future.

with the access to various clothing racks, and a few tables pre-selected for the static show, some ideal modules were constructure and tested with heavy pieces of clothe such as raincoats and hoodies. these modules were tested for aesthetics, structural strength and risk awareness, while throughout and improved each step of the making.

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the lethaby | 24-01-2022

lethaby gallery had been introduced as a site earlier in this project but had been discarded due to the space being limited and exclusive to the backend show to be livestreamed on a projection. although due to inaccessibility to the stable street shops it became the new hosting space for the static exhibition. the area space was similar to the shops which made it easy to reallocate the pre-planned modules with few changes. the proposed props remained the same: clothing racks, studio tables, cutting tables and backboards.

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lethaby gallery exhibition | 31-01-2022

with numerous proposed plans and modules for the new space, a conclusion was set for 3-4 different compositions to be replicated throughout the gallery space. these were accompanied with overhanging racks suspended from the ceiling along the west and east sides of the gallery, and the projection of the backend livestream to happen on the north-side, facing both inwards and outward.

the following task was to consider elements of lighting and how those could be attached/added to the compositions, and to quantify the elements needed, such as the total number of clothing racks and tables to be used in the space.

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projection testing | 01-02-2022

upon various tests to different types of projectors, it was then found that the initially concept of backlit projection would require various forms of preparation, as well as an additional projector to be outsourced which would difficult the plan of exhibition assemble. the projector was considered to be suspending from the ceiling at a certain height and angle which would not interfere with the hangings or modules to be constructed – however this project was then overtaken by Argent’s management team.

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module building | 02-02-2022

the exhibition was weeks away, so it was time to refine the components that would go on the gallery: scavenging a few more props such as chairs, ratchet straps, backboards, and plinths, all that we needed to get started on risk assessing these modules. several hours were spent on putting these together, running into them, pushing them around, wrestling them and overall making sure that these would be stable once setup in the gallery space. adjustments such as the use of more ratchet straps, angle shifting and cable-tying had to be made to prevent some of these collapsing with the weight of the clothes, or by the audience running into them.

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pre-show preparation | 07-02-2022

to prepare for the exhibition assemble, a set of drawings were prepared to ease up the process. the help of professional technicians was available, so it was important to have everything planned out and modelled to scale. some sketches on how to strap the ratchets around certain complicated loops were arranged for an easy understanding to all members of the crew. visual models and axonometric of the entire place were also prepared for an overall feel of the space.

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assembling the show | 14-02-2022

the time came to start assembling the gallery, just one week away from the grand opening. the props were all moved into the space, tables were settled in place and racks were aligned for hanging. due to safety measures to hang these racks, the technicians performed further improvements on their stability by drilling and bolting the top layers which would simply pop-off otherwise. smaller modules were assembled first: triangular-shaped and the ramp; then the medium modules were planned in place and the largest semi-assembled. by day 3 all modules had been assembled with little adjustments to do; hanging clothing racks had been placed in and the mirrors had been delivered to the site. these mirrors were then displayed along the west and east sides of the gallery, with a few being tested as carpets along the middle of the walkways but with no success, and 2 others positioned under the triangular modules. thursday 17th was dedicated for final adjustments such as taping the mirrors to the floor, last-minute strapping and securing of racks and tables on the modules, securing plinths to their respective racks, and assembling the last module which sits at the south east corner of the gallery: the balance module.

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populating the gallery | 18-02-2022

friday 18th was then dedicated to hanging the clothes in place, populating it with the garments that wouldn’t be showcased on the catwalk. most of this process was curated and managed by the MA Fashion but certain security measures to the accessories were further developed, by tying these with fishing wire to the modules in place or racks closest to these.

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shiny shiny | 20-02-2022

the show. the day. the masterpiece. this catwalk was energised with colour, shape, and movement. each hanging had its own moment, its own place. the chairs had been distributed evenly and disorderly. everything was impeccably disorganised. during the show the expected happened: as runaway models made their way through the planned choreography that had been explained to them prior to the event, they started drifting into different directions, colliding with each other, and disrupting the show. this incident had no further causes other than some minor advancements in time for the final shoot, which ended on a positive note. towards the end of the show another confrontation happened where the public thought the show had ended and quickly made their way out of the event, although the models had just been instructed to make their ways back into the runway and this became a chaotic encounter between the models and members of the public. the organised chaos theme lived.

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static exhibition | 21-02-2022

then, the grand opening – the lethaby gallery static exhibition launched on monday 21st with a ratchet-strap-ribbon-cut-opening introduced by the 2 leading designers of the space. all garments of all 55 students had been exquisitely displayed across all clothing racks, table spaces and some accessories even over the mirror carpets placed under the hanging racks. the show ran for 7 days with opening hours of 8am to 6pm and a countless amount of visitors, from students to family members, to external spectators and international visitors of the london fashion week.

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post-show | 03-03-2022

to conclude the journey, the static show was then dismantled on a quicker pace than its assemble. within just a few hours the gallery had become almost empty, with just a few props left to be carried out back to their origin. many of these props were repurposed, others kept stored for future usage.

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