A week may be a long time in politics but it is precious little time to build an art installation. I know: it was an exercise I did last year on the Fine Art Contemporary Practice course at Sussex Coast College and though it was fun, it was also pretty stressful knowing that the Private View would happen at the end of the week whether or not you were ready. Yesterday, I was the visitor to the Private View put on by the first year students. They may have been stressed beforehand, but I was enormously impressed. It was held at the Printworks in Claremont Street, Hastings which is a wonderful building – atmospheric, great beams, exposed brickwork – that kind of place. Many of the installations reflected its history. Here are few of the works I liked the best.
To Print I and To Print II: Bev Thornley
To Print II is a text installation by Bev Thornley which projected quotations about people who might have worked in the building. The words appeared letter by letter making you aware not only of what was written but also the interior of the building by the way that beams, plaster and missing plaster were brought to life by the light of projector. It was accompanied by To Print I which was a sound installation of the noise of printing machines.
The Metamorphosis in Space : Claire Henley
Made out of wire, Hastings Observer newspaper clipping and coloured paper, these butterflies were designed as a symbolic representation of the changing passage of time. They looked striking at the top of the spiral staircase, the colours glowed against the dark background .
Stairecase Song: Barbara Mullen
Barbara Mullen also used the staircase; unfortunately her piece which was a sound sculpture cannot be shown: for that you had to be there. It was created by recording the sound created when the staircase was played like a xylophone. It was an imaginative use of the space, and as you walked up and down the stairs the sound of your own footsteps added to the effect.
Untitled: Carolina Lawson
This simple installation by Carolina Lawson appeared to be breeze-blocks improbably suspended by ribbon but in fact it was an illusion, created by the lighting and the wrapping; they were in fact made of cardboard. They certainly looked heavy and that made you think about the way the Printworks had been built.
Strike Off: Aimee Whatford
Aimee Whatford was drawn to the close connection between telecommunications and early newspaper printing and so created this installation out of galvanised wire. Suspended from the ceiling, it had a ghostly presence, reflecting past communications within the building while the twin pillars which are somewhat convoluted, possibly suggest understandings and misunderstandings.
Safe Journey Beautiful Boy: Jaz Schalicke
This strange video was most intriguing; two stills are shown below; among the tense stripes, words would fleetingly appear and disappear. They were gone before you could truly read them but I made out tears, loss and as you can see in the still on the right despair.
Peep Holes into the Past: Janee Waters
Scattered throughout the building were these small circular prints. Janee Waters explained that she had discovered old newspapers and magazines in the toilets of the building, as well as old wallpaper and had reflected that they might have been printed on the premises. She therefore created the peep holes which took selected text from advertisements in magazines aimed at women as home-makers.