Installation Time!

March 20, 2007

Brochure Oustide Brochure Inside Inside Bios  Alright, so now we’re getting close to the real thing.  But first, these are the brochures printed by the museum about the Sitings projects. I didn’t really scan these correctly, but whatever, you get the idea.  Nice map of museum front and back.  Tri-fold thingie with both of our artist statements on the inside plus our bios plus a blurb from the museum director about why Sitings is so awesome.  Not sure how legible these will actually be when you look at them so if you want to know what they actually say, let me know and I’ll post the text alone in the next entry.  A grad student in graphic design who works for the museum on their special events advertising also made a set of invitations and posters for us for the opening reception.  I’ll get some photographs of those soon and post them in the next entry as well–they were beautiful and a pain in the ass to make happen due to museum negotiating…

Matt Helping around 2am More Bags Bags Pretty Bags  So here’s how the transporting and installing happened.  I bought a bunch of giant black garbage bags and string and basically bagged the bottom half of each frame.  Sadly, I don’t really have any good photos of what the room looked like in its bagged state, but lets just say it was creepy and leave it at that.  Matt came over to help because this was a process that just wasn’t possible by myself (you know I would have done it alone if I could’ve!), and he happened to be ready and willing that night.   We worked until about 4am on the first day of the spring semesterd, also the night before installation day, carefully shoving paper plants into these garbage bags and pulling them up as high as they’d go before the plants started getting destroyed.  It took hours and hours of fenagling…  But the result was beautiful and unexpected.  The lighting in the room just happened to work out so that a lot of the bags were illuminated from the inside out.  You’d get these amazing shadows of the plants pressed up against the sides of the bag combined with the transparency of the bags themselves and the effect was amazing.  See for yourself.  Gave me lots of ideas for a future installation project, purely by accident!

Pre-Installation Passageway  Anyways, here’s a big ugly panoramic of what the space in the museum itself looks like.  I meant to post some of these way back at the beginning of the project but never got around to it.  This is the glass passageway leading to the Pendleton House and the Radeke Sculpture Garden.  The door directly in front leads to the Pendleton House, which is actually just full of offices on this floor so visitors aren’t actually allowed in it.  The door to the left leads to a really tiny outdoor area with a table and chairs (not really sure what purpose they serve) and the door to the right leads to the outdoor sculpture garden.  This view is approximately what you see upon entering the space from the main part of the museum.  As you can see, it’s really tiny–only about 12′ X 11′ with 8′ ceilings.    I loved this spot because it was so obviously a threshold between outside and in.  Whoever built this little addition (and it was obviously an addition after both bulidings had been built since all the walls are exterior walls of brick and stone) was really thinking about what it would be like to slowly transition from cut and dry museum, to this odd little room and then out into the garden itself.  There’s very little lighting in here, minimal climate control, and as I said before, the walls and floors are all based on what was there originally–the outside.  Stone floors, stone and brick walls, and then just the addition of a ceiling and 2 glass walls on either side.  Pretty minimal.  This is the room that inspired the project that is to come…

Blah blah blah, so I came in on Tuesday (Day 1) and spent the ENTIRE day just installing the ceiling grid and bringing in the frames.  What a debacle that was.  So the plan was, I would make these column collars which wrapped around each column in the corners of the room so that they could be tightened down on the colmn and then angle aluminum fastened to each one.  The aluminum in turn would hold up the galvanized steel slotted ceiling in a 3′ grid formation and the wood frames would each be 3′ square so they could just be dropped in place with all the plants already hanging on them.  It sounds kind of complicated, but it’s actually really simple.  In the end, I decided to outsource the work for the column collars just because I didn’t have the time to make them nicely and wanted to be able to just concentrate on the paper and the other parts of the ceiling.  I outsourced it to a friend, who the next day told me he couldn’t do it after all and had handed off to someone else.  Just for the record, that’s really not cool.  Especially when I’m paying for the work.  You don’t just hand it off to someone else without asking me first–or hand it off and don’t tell me about it!  I didn’t appreciate the going-behind-the-back-ness of that particular move.  So the second guy down makes the parts for me and they seem fine so I pay him for the work without testing any of it myself first.  BAD IDEA.  I went to the museum on installation morning with all my parts and materials in hand and the first thing I had to do was put the column collars on before I could do anything else.  ALL of the ceiling parts relied upon the column collars, and I certainly couldn’t get any paper in there until the ceiling was up.  Well, the column collars he made didn’t work at all.  Like, not even a little.  It was a big problem.  I couldn’t fasten them to the columns correctly, then I couldn’t tighten them down at all so they would slide down, and then when I put up the angle aluminum, it didn’t fit because the collars were no longer at a right angle.  It was bad.  After lots of panicking and running around trying to buy some new fasteners and parts to make them work, I finally just bought a bunch of tiny C-clamps and clamped the whole thing together… Sketchy.  Thanks so much to Julia and Kent who worked with me all day that day and dealt with my panic attacks when things kept failing right and left.  When we finally got the collars to work, putting the rest of the ceiling up went really quickly-maybe 10 minutes to fasten the rest of the parts together?  But of course by then, it was already lunch time because the collars had been such a disaster.  So the afternoon was spent transporting all the frames to the museum.  We cut each frame down from the ceiling in the studio and carried them one at a time to the freight elevator and then out to the museum’s box truck.  We could only fit 4 or 5 frames in the truck at a time so it took a couple trips to get everything over to the museum.  Once we were in the museum, we once again had to carry each frame one at a time into their freight elevator, up the spiral stairs and into the space.  Each frame was dropped into its appropriate spot on the ceiling frame and installation was done for the day!  Don’t let me downplay it too much though.  Just carrying the frames around and loading them into the truck, driving them over and dropping them into place took the rest of the day.  We got the last frame in place right as the clock hit 5 and that was the end of the first day.  It was crazy.  Thanks again Julia and Kent–you guys are lifesavers.  I never would’ve gotten it done that day without you.

Installation in Progress! Day 2: Since all of Tuesday was spent just getting everything into the museum, that left all day Wednesday to de-bag the paper/plants and start arranging it all!  The way I set up the frames in studio was as dense as I could possible manage.  I didn’t cut or drape any paths of any kind–just left it all equally dense everywhere with the plan of waiting until I was actually in the room to “cut” a path and make room for people to walk through and open doors and get in and out.  Wednesday was much more calm and stress free.  Just me and a pair of headphones from 9-5 ditching trash bags and draping a path.  Note the Installation in Progress sign!  These photos are when I was halfway through the de-bagging process.  The morning light in the room was beautiful so I had to take a break to take a few photos…

Passageway Entrance Sun and Bags Garden View Panoramic Photo 1:  The door to the room–glass door with text printed that says “Radeke Garden” (kind of perfect).  You can see that I’ve taken the bags off the paper on the left half of the room and still have the right half to go.  Photo 2:  Sunlight striking the bags filled with paper on the right side of the room.  Note the trees outside in the background…  Photo 3:  A little panoramic of the view out the glass on the right out to the sculpture garden.

Aftermath  And of course a photo of my studio back in the ID building after all the frames had been removed.  Total empty wasteland…  It has since been cleaned up and re-organized for classes, but wow was it gross in there immediately after everything had been moved into the museum…

Next post:  Finished Installation Photos!  Opening Reception! (If someone sends me photos by then…)  Posters and Invitations!

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