Guy Caradog Morgan, MFA 2017-2019
I wanted to make something that was simple, sculptural and attention-grabbing but that referenced repetitive patterns with a folk-art feel. I knew I wanted to use colour cycling as well, and possibly text and random noise. The piece developed organically from playing with repetition and colour – I started making grid or 'blanket' patterns with blocky, folksy stamps overlaid on them.
An inspiration here was brand-marks or logos, and also wallpaper. I liked the idea of creating 'breathing' walls using colour. I had begun to create variants of this theme and a quick mock-up of the final projection mapping made me think of gift wrapped boxes.
The sculpture our group was working with was already reminiscent of festive window displays. Moreso than I would have initially intended, this projection mapping piece became quite 'shop window'. But that in itself became quite interesting.
I decided to develop this further and made something with multiple random elements that could be used as a compound brush – using the Open Frameworks plugin piMapper you can choose subsections of a 'sketch' to display on different surfaces. I developed something that worked when you looked at the whole sketch but that contained enough disparate elements that you could 'paint' with it. I built randomness in to the starting conditions – so you would always have slightly different spacing and shapes used for the repetitive 'christmas jumper' pattern, the 'tv static' pattern, and different flicker rates for the lines around the outside, designed to pick out the edges of the real-world cardboard. Neatly, this meant that the projection mapping would never look quite the same each time it ran.
However – this approach wasn't a good idea in the context of mapping quickly for a show and in future I would take a different approach for a group use of the same sculputure with a quick turnaround. The new 'parcel' frame buffer object could be used in many different contexts – to give colourful 'tv static' and to suggest festive jumpers and postage parcels (I began thinking of the fbo as 'the parcelforce fbo') – and it was random and generative.
Next I needed to incorporate some text for the final bit. This turned out to be quite challenging, and I ended up using an array of letters and sine motion to create a frenetic, constantly changing suggestion of the word 'BLANKET', which also worked as the piece's title. I thought of blankets of snow, TV static like snow, and knitted blankets, which you might cover yourself with as you sleep in front of the television in the memory of the presents under the tree, etc. It had all become quite Christmassy.
Much of the final piece was informed by the sculpture our group chose, which suggested dynamic parcels, an explosion of fun... I wanted to make something that fit the form, not something that could be projected on any surfaces. In doing so I took an overly sculptural approach, over-complicated it, and perhaps hacked some design solutions out in the service of needing a 'piece' or section to fit the narrative (which had basically become 'Liberty's window display, Christmas 2017' – a perfectly adequate alternative title for the piece). Despite that, the piece has a personality and feel that it might not have had if I had made a more monolithic approach.