Saturday, 28 April 2012
The southern portion used to be the site for Millbank Penitentiary, a notorious six sided structure that housed prisoners of transportation. They were shipped off to Australia in the 19th century direct from a jetty on Millbank itself. It was a desolate, dark, dank prison, where by all accounts, prisoners not only suffered psychological isolation but also physical deprivation and died from dysentery, cholera and scurvy and many other associated diseases. Those who died were interred in an onsite cemetery. There was also enforced silence and a policy to break the morale and spirit of each prisoner, with the aim of rehabilitation. The prison was so vast and claustrophobic, the wardens themselves could only retrace their journey throughout, by marking the walls with chalk. The prison was subject to subsidence, since the land had not been drained adequately prior to construction. It was surrounded by a moat, the remains of which can still be seen today at the western end of John Islip Street. Eventually it was deemed unsanitary, and in any case Australia did not want any more prisoners to colonise it, and so the role and purpose diminished, and it was eventually closed in the late 19th century. The Australian term POM is rumoured to be based on the acronym from Prisoner of Millbank.
Friday, 27 April 2012
Today I went through Chelsea archives- it gave me a good standing ground for context. Learnt that whole reseach that i was doing for the first term grew into subject i am doing now, and falls into places naturally. Last term I was looking and the social borders and territories, housing, that earlier meant to be utopian, failed; it fell into a social gap between wealthy and not so; good and bad; own territories started developing between those areas. Even architectural style of buildings formed stereotypes of who's living in there. Now looking at the Millbank panopticon, building was built using Bentham's utopian designs, but failed over the fact that regime was too strict and building, as an optical machine of human groupings, mentally and physically killed people. In both cases there was a dominant control, which suposed to be utopic, but the reality of this power was a failure. I find it ironic in both cases. Millbank prison from bird's eye view looking as a symmetrical flower from outside, ironicaly was more like chaos inside. My aiming for the final proposal is to show old traces of the building, as a reminder of the failure, marking its territory, layered on today's map. Structure is half-see-through, the representation of something that once was a power, but now it just stands as a reminder of the territory and flows there as a memory.
at the moment I've got this: wood is too thick, thinner will snap and bend on the ends from the pressure of the string; plastic is too thick or again, thin will bend. My solution at the moment is metal rod , (still waiting for threaded ones but they will be too thick as i can see now...). The metal rod is 2mm, and would be sprayed with white paint.
My main thoughts are that at first I was intending to get the model against the location, so it could be seen as "old and new", now wonder maybe flat map of the millbank would get lost against the big structure?+ Background of the threaded structure wouldnt be single colour anymore. White wood plane, possibly grey/black map and white rods+string structure. Or everything white.
Could be map+structure and a one or so example of close up. RISK IN TIME?
Quick examples of artists to explain the way I imagine the map.
Details that couldn't be done- little slots where cells should be ( around the walls)
The most possible details of the structure around the walls.
Any other advice/ideas in terms of technical, material side of the making?
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Possible materials to be used for the anchor points. Material has to be strong, so it cannot bend, and also needs to balance against the tension of the string. For the big model I think I'll use threaded rod, as it will provide me with calculated, equal channeling for the sring.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Millbank Penitentiary previously stood on the site of what is now Tate Britain in London. While the two institutions may be very different by their primary nature, similar practices and interactions occur within them. The attractive symmetrical form of the plan of Millbank Penitentiary allowed the masters physical and mental control. The six petal-shaped prison blocks permitted the gaolers to segregate the various inmates by type and danger. Millbank Penitentiary embodies many paradoxes: the flower like formality of the punitive plan, and the journey from Old World penal institution to modern day art gallery. The role of Tate, like most art galleries, is arguably to manage and control art. The works are split up in much the same way as the Millbank prisoners, categorised, and treated differently in each section. Visitors are processed through the galleries by prescribed routes, while receiving a particular set of experiences. The final irony is the high level of social constraint imposed. In order to maintain control certain rules are applied. Throughout the galleries the visitor route is monitored. The whole visit is surveyed. http://www.langlandsandbell.com/millbank-penitentiary.html
Thursday, 19 April 2012
Another experimentation with strings. I stretched the layer of string across the room, intention was to experience how does it feel being placed across the room with some sort of barrier which decrease my possibilities of moving in the room. Also again, the play of light against the string wall did an interesting conclusion- sun became a ray of projector, projecting the opposing shadows. The difficulty was documenting the outsome as it became almost invisible. Here I became clear that it should be big consideration on tones of sting angainst background, lighting and daylight.
Form, material and space are placed in relation to one another to make the interdependent elements appear as a complex whole. The physical material of the sculptures, the acrylic yarn, is present, but it literally carries very little weight. The found architectural situation where the work is exhibited becomes part of the work and functions as its premise and prerequisite.