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07 May

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Can You Hear Me? I Can See You!

May 7, 2013 | By | No Comments

17th May is the public launch of a new exhibition by Re-Dock, showcasing the Advice Portal project. “Can You See Me? I Can Hear You!” shares our working methodology through video documentation and digital works created with the sheltered housing residents, alongside three new commissions created in response to the project, and developed in consultation with the residents themselves. I’ve been developing a Skype Advice Portal installation for the show, and it’s fair to say I’m pretty excited about it all!

My dad even got roped into the project, and features at the beginning of the trailer below in a homage to the new Man of Steel ‘General Zod’ viral.

The exhibition runs until 2nd June 2013.

07 May

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Wondrous Place

May 7, 2013 | By | No Comments

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I’m currently designing projections for A Wondrous Place – a new touring theatre show by director Chris Meads (Northern Spirit). The show features four new pieces, each set in a different city in the North (Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield), and the creative team are also assembled from across the four cities. The stories all avoid the ‘grim up north’ cliches, instead portraying characters who creatively and imaginatively engage with their surroundings, which means there is some nice potential for clever uses of projection.

It’s already been an interesting process, working closely with set designer Lois Maskell to establish areas and surfaces for projection, and discussing with Chris about when, of and how it should be used. As well as developing my own video content, I’ve also been receiving short pieces from animator Kate Jessop, which lends another aesthetic to the projections. Beyond that my role becomes very technical, using Isadora to map images and cue transitions. I always enjoy working on the new challenges that a theatre show brings up, and this one is no different. As well as creating new custom user actors in Isadora, I’ve also been getting to grips with projecting across two screens using the Matrox tripleHead2Go.

The show opens on Wed 15th May at the Unity theatre, before touring the other 3 cities.

Liverpool Unity Theatre
15th-18th May
Box office

Sheffield Crucible Studio Theatre
23rd May – 1st June
Box office

Newcastle Northern Stage 2
4th-6th June
Box office

Manchester Royal Exchange Studio
11th-22nd June
Box office

 

 

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22 Apr

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Talk at Signal Films, Barrow – 25th April

April 22, 2013 | By | No Comments

This Thursday I’m going to be talking about my recent residency at Florence Mine, Egremont and showing work created by myself and the other artists for the exhibition.

The talk will be at Signal Film and Media in Barrow, from 7 – 8.30 and it’s free!

more info here:

http://www.signalfilms.co.uk/what’s-on/sam-meech-talk/

 

20 Apr

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Equipment testing – lasers, chroma, cctv, triplehead2go

April 20, 2013 | By | No Comments

This last week has been full on with testing new bits of equipment and processes for two projects – the Portal project with Re-Dock, and the Wonderous Place theatre show. Both projects open on the same day (15th May) and both are pretty tech heavy for myself and the other artists involved. For the last month I’ve been speccing tech setups for each show, trying to divvy up the equipment I currently have, and cobble together any extra peripherals needed.

In the midst of all this testing, I’ve been playing with the Vine app on my iPhone. Below you can see tech tests and demos for the Matrox TripleHead2Go (sending external display across 2 projectors), a chroma kit, a colour cctv cam, and Dave Lynch‘s laser sound device.

14 Apr

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Avoidance and Encouragement

April 14, 2013 | By | One Comment


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web_portalGhostTest-09

Lately I’ve been avoiding things…

When I’m developing new work I find often myself (unknowingly) resisting the next steps in creating the work. It’s an unconscious thing, based on fear of the unknown, but manifests itself through procrastination and re-prioritising (doing admin), avoidance of forking out for necessary expenses, or rationalisation that something ‘wont work anyway’. Recently I’ve felt it when dealing with new materials – such as my experiments with concrete – which in hindsight were so straightforward, but at the time felt alien.

It can be crippling at times. I remember struggling to start the first Small Cinema community project, to the point where I just wanted to just give the funding grant back and shout “I can’t do it!”, until my friend and fellow Re-Dock-er John O’Shea sat me down and asked “what do you want to do, and when do you need to do it?”. From that point, we set some tasks and some dates and I just tried to hit them. Having someone there to share the responsibility of thinking about it was what got me going, and not wanting to let them down got me through it.

web_portalGhostTest-06

Haunted by the Ghost

A similar scenario occurred this week with my artwork for the Portal project. I’m designing a video installation which is a development of the database-style installation of Gillfoot No. 2, whilst incorporating Skype as a live interface, and a Peppers Ghost illusion as part of the presentation. Whilst I had researched the illusion extensively, I had not tested it enough practically and found myself avoiding doing so, until friend and projection magician Dave Lynch invited me to Leeds to have a play for an afternoon. It was Dave’s confidence and enthusiasm for the idea that encouraged me to fork out on a few materials and commit some time purely to experimentation (a rare treat these days!) to achieve the illusion. And of course, as he was a friend, I didn’t want to let him down…

So we spent an afternoon in a dark room in Leeds stacking boxes on monitors and taping bits of perspex and mylar at odd angles, and pretty soon we had results. Ghostly reflections of my pixellated face appeared on the plastic screen and I could see that this was going to work. Dave also is a keen documenter of process so thankfully we have pictures to prove we achieved something. Sketching and prototyping is such a valuable part of a creative process, but its something I avoid, for the fear of it not working. Here though, I was kicking myself for not trying it earlier. If it hadn’t been for someone, in this case Dave, pinning me down to a day to experiment, I have written it off without trying it at all.

The final piece, along with Dave’s own work with lasers,  will be presented as part of the Portal project exhibition – “Can You Hear Me? I Can See You!” at FACT from 17th May.

14 Apr

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Small Cinema in the Skinny

April 14, 2013 | By | No Comments

Listings magazine The Skinny featured A Small Cinema project in its launch issue for the new NW edition. I was very flattered to be asked, and did a skype interview with film editor Jamie Dunn. The resulting article is a really touching summary of the journey the project has been on since 2008, up to the Moston Small Cinema in 2012 (and which continues to take up much of my time now!).

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22 Mar

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Going to the Pictures

March 22, 2013 | By | No Comments

plaza-ext-web

I’ve been working on a project with the Plaza Community Cinema, exploring the heritage of cinema within North Liverpool. My role has been to develop branding and design for the project, creating print outcomes including a map of the 21 local cinemas, and also setting up the website for showcasing the research findings of the project. It’s obviously a project that interest me greatly, as the themes overlap with that of A Small Cinema – aiming to understand the changing ecology of film exhibition.

The final website is now live, and features video interviews, editorial research, memorabilia, and a map of the 21 cinemas. It’s an interesting archive framing local heritage against a wider social history.

www.goingtothepictures.org.uk

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22 Mar

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Portals and iPads

March 22, 2013 | By | No Comments

portal_image_01_web

I’ve been working on a new Re-Dock project, called Portal, that is looking at the way we use technology as a device to send messages and transport ourselves through time and space. In collaboration with Tenantspin, we’ve been working with a group of sheltered housing residents, arming them with iPads, exploring new uses for common tools such as Skype, wikipedia, twitter and the video camera as a message recorder.

I’ve written in detail about the iPad as a video recording device, but just to give an idea of why it’s useful to think about it again:

Simply turning the camera on transforms the iPad into a window, a portal by which the outside world can be framed, immediately placing the user in the role of author.

Having used video cameras for most of the last 10 years, it’s interesting to watch how other people engage with the screen, especially with a device like the iPad

The scale of the iPad image itself is not too far removed from the real world as viewed by our own eyes, creating an odd kind of harmony between the image and it’s surroundings. It was a remarkable scene, with 6 residents sat in a circle, all viewing each other through the iPad camera, looking slightly enchanted.

The value in immediately creating your own media is apparent, and the iPads fusion of the camera / screen make this incredibly accessible for older people.

There is something about it as a tool that is great for older people. I wish I could afford one for my dad!

The Portal project is leading to an exhibition in May, in FACT, where we will present the workshops and also 3 new commissions developed in response to the project, and tested by the residents. I am developing a new piece of work, based on the Gillfoot No. 2 piece. that aims to implement Skype as a recording device that allowing users to contribute to the video installation.

08 Feb

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Document: Unearthed exhibition

February 8, 2013 | By | One Comment


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Last night was the opening of the Unearthed exhibition at Florence Mine. I went back to the gallery this morning to take some images of the space.

After 4 days of frantic installation, the exhibition looked great. We had a very busy opening night and I talked to many people who all seemed genuinely intrigued and impressed with the show. I was so proud to see the work of the artists on the project, finally complete, and looking fantastic in the space. Some very accomplished pieces, and in fact each artist had achieved a great deal in terms of their own development, whether it be learning new tools, trying a different approach to making work, or using the work to make a personal journey. I was pleased too with my own pieces – the concrete mould had worked well for Deep Repository, with the View From Here film playing from the brick itself, and the video installation about Gillfoot No2 didn’t look bad either. It’s a relief to have got to this point where we can simply enjoy what we’ve created.