Loren, Zoe, and I will be working on a window display for the Nations of Shopkeepers bar in Leeds city centre. The window will be part of the Love Arts Festival, which is concerned with mental health and creativity.
This is an annual festival and lots of students from our course volunteer to help with the city-wide event. A few third years get the opportunity to do one of the three window displays in Leeds, and I’m lucky to be involved with the largest window of all this year.
I was initially going to do the window myself, but more people than windows wanted to be involved and Lorne was one of them. I knew we worked really well together and had similar artistic concerns so I invited her onto the Nations Team. Over the summer her and Zoe went to some festival where they saw lots of projection mapping and they grew very interested in the art form and Loren suggested doing it in the window. We invited Zoe to join us as she is keen to learn more about project mapping and is a very talented film maker, a skill that we would find very useful to realise the vision for the window.
As we were scattered across the north over the summer, we arranged the earliest meeting that we could in Leeds to bring all our ideas together and for me feed back from the meeting with Tom from the festival.
As a brief outline of today’s discussions we decided that:
- create a series of films of people we know, street pop voxs, and users/clients of mental health organisations, like Inkwell, asking them what it feels like to be sad or lonely and what they do when they are sad or lonely to try to make themselves feel happy
- create a series of abstract films combining the interviews with images that are metaphors for mental health, like the black dog, and things that come out of discussions, for example chocolate, and make a) the projection that would be mapped in the window, and b) and series of short online films that include excerpts from the projection and the spoken interviews
- project onto a series of hanging white sheets of paper of different sizes which fill the space of the window at different heights and distance from the window. In the middle front there will be one sheet of paper which passers-by can project images and video from their own smartphones onto via a DIY projection box stuck to the inside of the window
- wallpaper the back wall to make the space seem homely, and familiar – less gallery and more relatable
- encourage people to join in the conversation based on the questions we ask for the interviews and post to Twitter using a hashtag. They can also take photos and videos themselves in response to the questions
- we will do a Twitter account to support the project, but possibly also a basic website that will host the videos, information about the window, ways to get involved, and if we have time or can get others involved, some street photography of people answering those questions during the festival dates
We used the themes of loneliness, understanding of others’ thinking and feelings, and open conversations about mental health when coming up with this plan. ‘Conversation’ is a key theme of the Love Arts Festival and is the name of the associated conference.
Plan B if projection mapping doesn’t work, or we can’t get the power is to hang photographs in the space instead (which we may change to other versions of our own images or invite people to submit their own through Twitter which we then use). The DIY projection box will still be used.