PicBod- Exhibition Presentation

After looking into different exhibitions that present different bodies of work in different ways, I needed to think about my own presentation and body of work for the final piece. I had a few ideas of where I wanted to go with my work, I wanted to combine the text from online conversations with imagery of internet boxes that are on the street; both types of work would link together in ideas and themes however they would be presented differently to allow them to stand as pieces of work on their own.

I went to talk to Matt about my work and to discuss possible ways I could present the final body of work for my exhibitionready piece. We first looked at the text side of my work; through the use of text I want to show the online world and online chatrooms. By presenting a range of different conversations that I have had on these chatrooms, I hope to demonstrate that a variety of conversations can be had. Furthermore I am also interested in the structure of the online conversations and how over time they can be seen to ‘build up’ with replies getting longer, I felt that this pattern and shape, when looking at the conversation on paper could represent ‘real’ conversations that people have in real life.

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Through my presentation of the text, I want to show this development of a conversation whether it be online or in person. I also want to show how online chatrooms are completely random, you don’t know who you are going to get to talk to and the conversations can range from short to long indepth ones. The two possible ideas for presentation of text were producing a book of each conversation I had, or printing off the conversations as documents and present these documents.

For the first idea it was discussed that I would spend time separating the different conversations into single ‘comments’ either from myself or the ‘stranger’ in the conversation, these separate comments would then be printed onto one page per comment and then bound together to form the book. The layout of the book would be quite thin landscapes pages as there would only be a small amount of text on each page and this would get lost in an A4 sized book. The books would allow the viewers to flick through different conversations I have had with strangers online; they would show the development of the different conversations, in general the text would get more dense and informative as each booked progressed. The separate books would also allow comparison between different conversations and show the randomness and unknown quality to online chatrooms, how you do not know who you are going to talk to.

For my second idea, similar to the previous one, I would have sheets of paper each with one ‘comment’ on them, unless one person said more than one thing before the other replied. With a large number of conversations, the sheets of paper would add up and leave me with a large pile of papers each with one comment on. For my presentation I would then exhibit this pile of documents; viewers would be able to look through the conversations at their own leisure, seeing how they build up and develop over time. Furthermore by having just a stack of paper, a viewer is unlikely to look through the whole pile of paper, and so the next viewer would come along and start the conversation at a random point, possibly part way through a conversation, also the papers over time will become messy and out of order; this idea links to the idea of online chatrooms and how they are completely random and you don’t know what kind of conversation you will have or who with. For both ideas of presentation styles, by having only one comment on each page, this can be seen to echo my experience in the online chatrooms, and how usually I would only get one reply at a time and so the conversation builds up over time.

My second idea takes influence from the body of work Composition No. 1 by Marc Saporta; in this body of work, similar to my own, Saporta presents his written book unbound in a box, the narrative is contained on each page, leaving it up to the reader to decide the order they read the book, and how much or how little of the book they want to read. The book raises all the questions we ask ourselves today about user-centric, non-linear screen driven ways of reading. The book,like my own work, looks at the randomness and interaction with the viewer, while also addressing how a viewer may read a body of work and have a personal and unique experience with it. Saporta’s work is a huge influence on my body of work and I can see that they link in similar ways, even though they have different narratives.

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For both ideas I was worried about loosing the flow of the text and the look, especially as when looking at the conversations as a whole document I was interested in their pattern and how they could be seen as echoing that of real life conversations and the sound waves from these conversations. However I feel that both of these presentation methods look both at the development of the conversation but they are also visually interesting, the methods are more subtle at showing the conversation pattern.

The academic article Engaging Audiences on Ongoing Social Debates through Interactive and Immersive Exhibits looks at the impacts and debates around interactive and immersive exhibitions. In the technological world we now live in, interaction in exhibitions has become more common; there is audience engagement with digital interactives, as well as interactive exhibits that aspire to multi-dimensional spatial experiences. These experiences and interactions with exhibits can be seen to allow numerous emotional and personal encounters, therefore altering the audiences’ experience within the exhibition space. The article gives examples of some of these interactive exhibitions such as touch-screen interactives in the new galleries of the Museum of London that aim to clarify current debates on London and a large-scale interactive art installation in the new wing of the National Maritime Museum which takes the visitors on a personal journey through climate change issues. The article questions, ‘can interactivity via these environments integrate intuitive experiences and engage the audience in social debates?’ Through a range of discussions and research the paper aims to show the relation between audience and the elements within an interactive exhibition.

In my own work, I need to consider how the interaction, with either the conversation books or the stack of sheets of paper, will affect my viewers’ understanding of my themes and ideas, while also considering the experience the viewer will have with the body of work as a whole.

After coming up with the two different ideas for presenting my text, I decided to experiment with them both; I made a mock book of one of my conversations from the online chatrooms, I also began to print of some of the pages as if I were printing for the ‘document’ style presentation.

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I really liked the book, however just making a mock one took a long time and I feel to do a good job on each book I would not have time before the deadline; furthermore I feel that the stack of paper links more to my themes and project and also I like how it makes my work a bit more interactive and personal for each viewer; for these reasons I decided to create the stack of paper documents.

After deciding on text presentation, I then considered how I would present my imagery. The stack of documents can be seen as quite ‘rough’ and ‘shabby’ as they are just sheets of paper. For my imagery to link to my text, I felt that having it also as quite rough would visually work and link as a body of work, and so I decided to just have photographic prints that were not mounted or framed, echoing the ‘shabby’ feel. I chose to have A4 prints as this was a suitable size, it is easy to see in enough detail, but not too over powering compared to the text as I wanted them to complement each other and be seen as stand alone bodies of work while also having the link in themes and ideas.

After deciding on how I wanted to present my work for my final exhibitionready piece, I then considered if I would want to include titles. With my imagery, I decided to have them as standalone prints with no titlestherefore the individual boxes have no contextthey are completely random and could be from any street, echoing the idea of the randomness of the online chatroom and the fact that you don’t know who you are talking to. For the stack of document sheets, I decided to have the place where each person I spoke to was from at the start of the conversation on a separate piece of paper; this will then give slight context to each conversation and separate the different conversations within the pile. However, as the papers are moved and the pile mixed up, the place names may end up in the wrong place, in the middle of a conversation or at the beginning of a different one, echoing the idea of deception and the fact that with online chatrooms you never really know who you are talking to or if they are telling you the truth. 

After deciding both methods of presentation, I could then print my images and text and make my final presentation for my exhibition. Below, the images show a mock run of how I would layout my exhibitionready work; I would present the images in a simple row, this would allow comparison between the different images but it would not force as much comparison as some work, such as the work of the Bechers. I experimented with different images layouts, such as block grouping of all the images, however I felt this was the most appropriate presentation method, showing each box as an individual but also part of a ‘community’ echoing the online chatroom and its participants. For exhibiting I would use simple pins to fasten the prints to the wall, these would not be obvious and distracting but they would also flatten the prints to the wall and keep them in place.

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With regards to the layout of the images in relation to each other, I decided to have them quite random, once again echoing the idea of the online chatroom and the randomness of how you don’t know who you are going to talk to. I decided not to put the similar looking boxes next to each other as this would create comparison between them two, instead by having them random all of the boxes are compared to each other and show each ones uniqueness.

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For the text part of my exhibitionready work, I decided the best way to display the stack of paper would be on a table, this would allow space for the pages to be turned at the viewers leisure. After printing a selection of my conversations I had online, I had over 500 pages of paper; I decided to have a shallow box for my papers, so that they would not go everywhere. I decided to have one box that I would put the whole pile of papers in initially, then an empty one that people would put the turned over pages into, and so slowly the empty box would fill while the other emptied. For the position of the table I decided to place it away from the wall with the images on, yet it would still be close enough so that it was clear they are a linking body of work. The position of the table would allow people to move around the table and view the images and the text.

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Finally I considered the inclusion of context with my body of work; I feel that without slight context the viewers would not understand the work completely, yet I do not want to give everything away and so I would include a small plaque that would contain a small amount of text on my subject and themes. The text would say:

“The online world is a very vast and ever growing environment; this body of work aims to look at some of the ideas around the online world. Specifically looking at the Internet and the use of online chatrooms, this work hopes to inform its viewers on some of the issues and ideas that arise from the use of both of these digital tools.

Online chatrooms allow people to escape from the real world and enter a new virtual world where they can be what and who they want, yet this comes with some drawbacks and issues that can be seen for example in catfishing. I pose the question, do we really know who we are talking to in the online chatrooms, and will we ever know?”

Overall I am very happy with my final exhibitionready body of work, the whole exhibition links to my themes around the online world, deception and online chatrooms.

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