As v.02 reached its final week of production, the most important thing in my life emerges screaming from my wife’s belly pot; My charming son Finch. I have a million words to say about that tiny hulk of boy but they are best committed to paper or sung aloud from the glorious heights of the Derbyshire Peak District. Here, I will focus on v.02, how it came about and our hopes and dreams… as long as he will allow me to do so. This may be fragmented.
Firstly, v.02 is a progression from a previous exhibition at QUAD, called v.01 (naturally). QUAD is a creative hub in Derby that attracts many of the cities creatives, not just as visitors but also as employees. TechsQUAD is the technical team at QUAD that keep all the technology working, build bespoke exhibition spaces and do the general day to day technical stuff… But many of them are also artists. After showing interest in exhibiting their own
work for some time, they got the rare opportunity to curate a very short exhibition and include their own artwork within it. This became v.01. I was invited to work with the three main artists to create visuals for the main piece. So v.01 happened and over the 10 days it was open, the gallery received more visitors than all but two of the exhibitions QUAD had held to date. Numbers aren’t everything, but the feedback was such that the gallery curators decided that we should do another… But bigger. So v.02 was born and given a full 3 months of gallery time.
The four horseman of v.02 met up almost a year ago to discuss the project, what it should be, what we should keep the same and what we should do differently. Our initial thoughts were to keep the general layout of the exhibition and the feel of it the same and spend our time and effort in developing certain areas to refine the experience.
One of these developments was to create a completely immersive space. As I work professionally in fulldome, it was an obvious step forward from a flat panorama to a wrap-around display. Rather than the huge panorama of v.01, we wanted to create a vast and intimate space. Whatever display structure we went with, it should dissolve into an infinite and tangible omniverse. We discussed several options and it really came down to 2 alternative structures. After producing a couple of mockups we went with the aesthetic of the large flat panelled approach. It just felt right. It would be immersively less forgiving when viewed away from the control panel, but it also had fewer angles to contend with at alignment stage… This was only really a consideration as the screen would need to be dismantled and rebuilt in the week prior to the exhibition.
Another development was to create a more immediate interactive experience. The layering of music and visual to produce unique environments was particularly pleasing in v.01 but understanding the connection between cause and effect was lost due to slow attack times in the visuals and music. So the aim was to create a set of immediate sounds and corresponding videos to produce a responsive environment that feels controllable. We wanted to give the audience member the feeling that they were the creator of the world they were in.
The exhibition was to be part of the 3D season at QUAD, which put a lot of pressure on the exhibit being in 3D. To begin with this was something we really wanted to do, but didn’t really have a clue how to do. We kept the idea in mind as we carried on figuring out other aspects of the piece but it wasn’t until quite late in the project until we actually figured out a way of doing it.
The funding and budget was all managed by Oli and Aron at QUAD… My stand point on payment was exactly the same as the first one, which all four of us agreed to… We wouldn’t take any payment for the project if it meant we would have to compromise artistic vision. We would be donating our fees towards any technology we required to make the project better.