PLANNING MY SPACE

I have been given a lovely open space by big double windows, so I am hoping that there will be a good amount of natural lighting. I wanted natural lighting (no yellow or harsh spotlights) to keep the pale, matt tones of the piece.

People can walk all the way around my piece, which is exactly what I wanted. The run can be viewed from all angles, explored, the marbles can be followed, and I am hoping that because of the design of the frame, it will not totally dominate the space. I want people to be able to ‘look through’ the space to other works and areas of the room.

My only concern with this space was that if people were viewing the prints and paintings either side of my piece, that they may accidentally back into it, which would be bad as it is very fragile. However, there should be at least a couple of meters between our work.

ems drawing

“IT’S EASY TO FEEL LIKE THE GAME IS RIGGED”

I’ve discovered a great video on neweconomics.org about the rising house prices we’re facing in the UK, why it’s happening, and why it’s not sustainable and will lead to another economic crash if it continues.

30 seconds in, they discuss how “it’s easy to feel like the game is rigged” – the housing system currently in place in the UK makes it very hard for people to ‘get on the property ladder’.

In my marble run, which is an exploration into Trickle Down Economics, (I have explained this in my artist statement) the whole ‘system’ through various mechanics is designed to end one way only. The game is rigged. In current economics the banks, land and property owners and private developers have it in their interests to keep house prices etc rising. As the creator of this artwork, it is in my interest (for the purposes of successfully maintaining the metaphor), to keep the system working so that eventually, all the marbles are held ‘by the wealthiest 1% in society’.

THE MINIMUM WAGE MACHINE

The Minimum Wage Machine, created by artist Blake Fall-Conroy, “allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 4.11 seconds, for $8.75 an hour, or NY state minimum wage (2015). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money.”

This machine challenges our thoughts on the minimum wage – you can earn it here by simply turning a crank, whereas in reality, many people will be working much harder, manual labour jobs to earn the same amount.

IN TERMS OF THE UK:

House prices and rent costs have risen so much faster than the minimum wage in recent years – it’s no surprise so many people are struggling to make ends meet.

“If the UK minimum wage had grown at the same pace as house prices it would now be over 40% higher than the George Osborne’s National Living Wage – at more than £10 per hour rather than the current £7.20.

In London, the minimum wage would be nearly £14 an hour if it had kept up – 90% higher than the current rate.” – http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/entry/house-prices-have-risen-twice-as-fast-as-earnings-heres-why?source=this-week-2204

NEOLIBERALISM

 

http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/a_short_history_of_neoliberalism_and_how_we_can_fix_it

A very interesting article discussing the changes in the American economy in the 20th century. Embedded liberalism to Neoliberalism.

It begins with the Great Depression, caused by “increasing productivity and decreasing wages, but this generated deep inequalities, gradually eroded people’s ability to consume, and created a glut of goods that could not find a market.”

Sound familiar?

The changes made in America apply also for Britain. The same policies were mirrored by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980’s.

We are currently facing massive inequalities in Britain as a result of these policies, which allow the rich to get richer, as the poor get poorer. It’s not sustainable.

“We have to reject the neoliberal version of freedom as market deregulation, which is really just license for the rich to accumulate and exploit, and license for the few to gain at the expense of the many.  We have to assert that thoughtful regulation can in fact promote freedom, if by freedom we mean freedom from poverty and want, freedom to have the basic human dignity afforded by good education, housing, and healthcare, and freedom to earn a decent living wage from a hard day’s work.  Instead of accepting that freedom means unhinging the economy from the constraints of democratic society, we need to assert that true freedom entails harnessing the economy to help us achieve specific social goods that are democratically arrived at and collectively ratified.”

hickel_graph02a

THE CONVEYOR CHAIN MECHANISM – THE HOOKS (2)

The hooks made from hair clips / bobby pins were successful at picking up the marbles, but not at dropping them off at the top of the run. The balls were mostly falling down the chain before reaching the first plaster piece.

To combat this, I added a second clip, which acts as an extension to the marble run. When the hooks reach the top and begin to turn upside down, the extra clip catches the balls by the chain and allows them to roll straight onto the run as the hooks angle down.

PAUL NOBLE

Paul Noble’s drawings of imaginary cities / world’s were introduced to me today – the forms used in the work shown at ‘Welcome to Nobson’ (Gagosian Gallery), particularly the geometric 3D-block lettering, looks similar to the shape of my plaster blocks which I have recently been working on. (And also reminds me of the numerous planning sketches/drawings I have done for my marble run.)

public-toilet-frieze

The above drawing for ‘Nobson Newtown’ shows the buildings in the form of block letter which spell out ‘PUBLIC TOILET’. Noble’s worlds are both dreary and hilarious – addressing the theme of ‘social hopelessness’. As the creator of these worlds, he also addresses themes of utopias and dystopias through his drawings and the use of biblical text & imagery.

GALLERY-TEN MOLLY GOLDWATER

The other night I went to at exhibition at Gallery Ten, showing the work of Molly Goldwater. The work was 2D print and collage – not really relating to what my current practice is about, but I think it’s important to still explore and relate to other media. The below print was one I could relate to most in the collection – I appreciate the gentle variation in tones used in angled, geometric forms. I also enjoy the playful composition and the unpredictable nature of print – mark making in this method.

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‘pink + grey 3’, 2016 (screenprint + paper on paper)

THE LINEAR ACTUATOR, LIGHT SENSOR AND ARDUINO

The light sensor triggers the linear actuator (trap door). Below is the linear actuator. To make this work, I needed to learn some Arduino.. something I have never done before.

Light sensor:

Below is a drawing I have done of all the components involved in the electronic / arduino setup:

I learned about the function of Arduino boards and coding, bread boards, resistors and the motor controllor. This was all quite new to me, the last I had done anything electronic was in secondary school. It has been good fun though – I have refreshed my soldering skills, and my knowledge of power and currents. I have also learned about and played with the arduino coding that I need to get the sensor and actuator working in the way I need them to. Having downloaded the software on my own computer, I plan to carry on having a play with Arduino at home. I still find the wiring / bread board area difficult and confusing, but with practise I hope I will become more confident with it and enjoy using it.

I am very glad I have discovered this before leaving uni – I only wish I’d have tried it sooner! I never thought I would be doing electronics for my final piece – but then I didn’t think I’d be using / learning a lot of the skills which I have been! They are all valuable skills which I am sure I will end up using again.

THE CONVEYOR CHAIN MECHANISM – THE HOOKS

I had been wondering about what I would need to attach to the bike chain, which would successfully pick up my cermaic balls and drop them off at the top. I had considered many different options: bending spoons, cups /pots or spoons, small brackets, wire, wooden ledges etc. Whilst walking around poundland, I saw hair clips / bobby pins which are essentially just manipulated, coated bits of strong wire. I tried curling one side of the bobby pin upwards and placing one either side of the bike chain, wrapped around a bolt. These work very well at carrying the marbles up the chain, and dropping the marbles off onto the run at the top. The only thing I have yet to test, is how efficiant the bobby pins are at scooping up the marbles from the bottom of the slide (which I have not yet finished making).