For the end of our picbod module we decided as a class to have an exhibition of all our work we have produced for the assignment. The exhibition was not a requirement of the module but we decided that creating an exhibition would be a very valuable experience. Teams were assigned in the class to be in charge of different aspects of the exhibition such as marketing and fund raising. I wasn’t around during this discussion and didn’t fall into a set team but was at hand to help through several aspects of the organisation and delivery of the exhibition.
A few of us decided that we would like a DJ at the venue and once it was ran past the group everyone was on board with the idea. I went ahead in organising a DJ for the night and had a meeting with him to discus the music that would be played and to make sure he understood the tone of the event. There were the odd concerns about having a DJ would create a nightclub type atmosphere, but the DJ understood that wasn’t what we wanted.
We wanted to try and get people from outside of the university to attend so I had assisted Kate in putting together a press pack to be sent to out, as well as sending out invites to university staff and students.
I had worked as part of a small team to organise the layout of the work in the venue, having had visited the space before I had a general idea of how work could be arranged. This layout was so that we had a general idea where works were going when it came to installing them. We understood when it came time to do it that works would probably be moved but we had to come up with a plan to start with so that we had something to work with once we got in the space. Once we were in the venue I helped out with installing a few peoples work as I felt comfortable handling artwork after my experience with Frame.
This has been such a valuable experience having had taken part and been involved in the production of an exhibition from start to finish. My time with Frame and Ikon have helped with the organising of this exhibition but at those placements I only got to observe certain aspects of the production of an exhibition, but with this experience I got to play more of an active role.
Before finishing my placement at Ikon gallery both me and Kate were asked if we could come back to film a performance on their next exhibition opening. The performance was by Rosanna Raymond, a performance artist who was going to perform an interpretive piece in response to the artwork in the gallery. This is all the information me and Kate had before the performance, which was quite limited. We didn’t know what to expect when it came to the volume she would be speaking, whether she would be speaking at all or how quickly she would move around the gallery. Because of this me and Kate had to prepare to be as flexible as we could be when it came to the performance, so we got out equipment that we could be versatile with, such as a shoulder mount for the cameras rather than a tripod so that we could easily move around. We couldn’t get an accurate sound test to set the sound levels because nobody knew exactly what would happen so we decided to set the microphones so that they could pick up general noise from people already in the gallery.
Because me and Kate had prepared quite well it wasn’t too difficult when it came to filming the event, everything ran pretty smoothly. I thought this was a tough but great experience to work with such a vague brief, it meant we had to prepare for a number of possibilities and we knew we would have to think and react quickly during the performance. Although I have done similar work over the past few months this task definitely improved and further developed the skills I have begun to develop as a freelancer. Due to this experience I thinkI can draw upon it to help me in situations with limited information given to me.
Today was my last official day of the placement with Ikon gallery and seeing as me and Kate had still to edit the talk from last week we arranged to come in on the same day to do that together. The editing process took much longer than we expected as we had trouble with syncing the sound, this meant the majority of the day was spent doing this. Because of this I realised that the post production can take much more time than the actually photographing or filming of an event and will take this into consideration when completing future freelance work.
After we had completed the editing I was asked to photograph the exhibition I was helping to curate last week, which was now complete and open to the public. The pictures were to be used for Ikon’s blog so from this I understood the type of pictures they wanted. I didn’t have much time left to do this so had to work much more quickly than I perhaps would usually.
This week I was helping Emma from the learning team put together a showcase exhibition of a project that has been ongoing over the past few months. The project has been a conversation between different European countries, with groups from each country responding and producing artwork to each others work. Having been involved with this curation process previously on this placement I was familiar with what needed to be done, meaning that I felt more comfortable to take more of an active role. At the beginning it was a case of getting all the work out, which was far to much to be shown in the space we had available, so it became an editing down process. This was based off what we felt was the best work to show as well as what more clearly represented the concept of the project. The conversations later moved on to deciding potential layouts.
I was quite happy to get another chance to take part in curating an exhibition on this placement, as it meant I could draw on my previous experience. Also with it being later on in the placement process I felt more confident and comfortable to take on a more active role.
Later on in the evening Ikon were holding an event in their second floor gallery, which was a talk about Brindley Place, to honour Ikon’s 15 years of being there. Myself and Kate had been asked previously if we could document the talk by filming it. We had discussed before hand a plan of action for the event and decided on the equipment we would need and the set up for recording. As it was a talk among 3 people in front of an audience we decided on a very basic set up of 2 cameras at different vantage points to cut between during editing. Not having had a lot of experience acting as a videographer I was quite glad to have Kate involved to take part in the planning and producing of the video. But after the experience I had definitely gained more of an understanding for the technical side of filming and it developed my skills acting as a freelancer.
This week I went in was the install week of the new exhibition for John Flaxman and Timur Novikov, which meant the gallery would be closed off from the public. Because there was just a week to go before the gallery would re-open for the new exhibition the marketing team had to create an excitement, so I was asked to take some photographs of the install process. These photographs would be used via their social networking profiles on Facebook and twitter, as the gallery was closed they felt it was important to keep there visitors involved in some way. I found it a bit difficult to photograph the install process as there were very few works at the gallery, most would be delivered the next day. This meant I was limited in what to show, so I chose something to focus on which were the facilities team fixing in shelves and tweaking the lighting. I found this to be a problem as well as there were very few people around working within the actual gallery space. I found this to be an interesting learning curve as I had very little to go with, in terms of subject matters to photograph and the direction from the marketing team was minimal, so I had to exercise my creative thinking ability in order to get through this task.
The following week was the launch of the new exhibition, the gallery would be opening to the public at 6 for the private viewing, which I was asked to stick around for to document by acting as photographer for the event. I have found that over my time with frame_ and Ikon so far that I have become a lot more confident and comfortable carrying out these kind of tasks. During the day before the gallery was opened Ikon hosted a lunch in their cafe, which people involved in the exhibition outside of the Ikon team were invited to. Due to a last minute cancelation a space opened up at the lunch meaning I had the opportunity to go along. I found this to be a very valuable experience as I became more familiar with the process of networking and it it was a great exercise of my interpersonal skills, I find being in these situations really force me to be aware of how I present myself and communicate.
On the night of the private viewing I found the task o photographing the event quite enjoyable as I feel I well practiced at the process now and I am happy with the outcome.
This project was up and running for 3 months, because of this I got to witness how the momentum and enthusiasm is kept up for an exhibition. Initially press packs were sent out to local media outlets as a way of marketing, and to keep some interest about it several articles had been published online to promote the project (as seen below).
Tours of the works were given out as another way to maintain the interest in the project, these tours were either delievered by one of the frame team or by one of the artists. These tactics have shown me the importance of keeping the exhibition alive for 3 months and also the motivation it takes to run such a project, as it is constantly needing people to be enthusiastic about it.
Launch Parties: There were two launch parties for the Frame_ project, the first was exclusively for people directly involved with the project (artists, venue hosts) and the second was open to the public. At both Elly gave a speech to clarify the aims of the project and to took the opportunity to thank and acknowledge everyones involvement. These parties introduced me to the world of networking and showed me the importance of creating a strong relationship with the clients in order to create an enthusiasm about the project.
On the launch parties I was asked to be photographer for the event, documenting the night. Thankfully I had already seen the venue I would be photographing at, which helped me when planning and preparing the equipment I would need on the night. I had noted it was quite dark so would need to take a flash as a precaution. At first I was a bit cautious about using such intrusive equipment such as DSLR camera and a flash, but after a while my confidence increased and I relaxed into it. I had found ways of approaching the guests at the event so that I wasn’t so off putting with my camera.
During the install week there was quite a bit to be done so I made myself available as I could be. Elly (project leader) was relying on myself and the other volunteers to help out as much as possible, because all the works had to be installed throughout the city before the week was out.
Having to work well in a team and be able to organise the team during this week were crucial skills that I feel have really developed due to this task. I was having to remain in constant contact with the rest of the volunteers in order to get the work up in the most efficient way.
I also became very familiar with the process of hanging art work to a gallery standard and became aware to several ways of presenting and mounting artwork. There were also certain aspects of hanging work up in public spaces that I hadn’t considered before, such as the security of the artwork. All of the pieces had to be insured and in some cases the works were attached to the wall with a lock. The concept of each work was considered and its relevance to the venue it had been exhibited in. And the location of the artwork within the venue itself had to be carefully thought through, as these spaces weren’t typical ‘gallery spaces’ (a white cube) so the work had to fit and work along side the already existing features of the venue.
During the start of the my placement with Frame_ in Birmingham I spent a lot of my time liaising with clients. As the project involved 32 different venues around Birmingham, there was quite a bit of work to be done with keeping in contact, as well as maintaining a relationship with them. So I began to learn about this process and the importance of creating strong bonds with clients.
As well as this the install week was nearing, which was when all the individual works had to be mounted in their allocated venues. I worked with two other members of the Frame team to organise a schedule for the install week, which took a lot more careful consideration and planning than I originally had thought, putting my organisational skills to the test.
I found this to be a nice introduction to the project, as I began to place myself within the team and gain an understanding to the preparation that’s involved at the start of such a project.
On this day I started off by scanning in and putting together an essay on John Flaxman from a book, which will be put into the resource room of the gallery. After this I was given the opportunity to sit in on there programming meeting, they have one of these every three months just before the new exhibition. The purpose of these meetings is to go over the diary for the next few months, but what I was surprised by was that they were planning things up to a year in advance.
The discussion didn’t just revolve around in house projects but there were several discussions about reaching out to the wider community, which I have observed time and time again so far on my placement is a big focus for the gallery. This meeting gave me the opportunity to observe several points of view, from the marketing side of the company to the learning teams side, on the up coming events. Overall this meeting was a great opportunity to see how the whole Ikon team come together and work cohesively.