Saturday 6 July 2013


This is a box.  A magical Box.  Shall we see what's inside?  That's right, broken glass and Christmas tree lights.

I've exhibited work a few times at the rather nice Cupola gallery in Sheffield.  Along with established artists, every year they do an open call for mixed shows, which gives people like me a chance to get their work into galleries, and one of the calls this year ("Kilter Kelter") was based on using recycled materials.

I struggled with what to do for it, but in a rather charged evening of jotting down ideas whilst listening to "Boards of Canada", I ended up with a slightly mad, science fiction concept.  Harking back to programmes like "Quatermass" and "Dr Who", I ended up with the idea of a fake documentary project, set in the whole alternate dystopia Britannia universe that plays host to a number of my projects.

The basic idea is that a mysterious scientific research body has begun finding and documenting sightings of strange, glowing cubes in the Cumbrian countryside.  The project is a snippet of these findings, with photographs taken on-site, and some excerpts of official reports and news cuttings. 

As it happened, it wasn't suitable for the Open Call, but at the moment its something of an exploratory project to see how things go; I'm rather enjoying doing it, and working out how it fits into the established Britannia time line.

From a practical point of view, the main focus of the project is the cube itself.  With the exception of the light source inside, everything came from my Day Job- the cube is some sort of broken display stand.  A hole was drilled into the base, allowing the installation of an upturned jar (so the internal lights could be sealed-in, watertight).  The rest of the cube was then filled with smashed clear and green glass from pop bottles.  A lid from scrap 5mil perspex was cut and glued in place, and the bottom of the box covered in electrical tape to disguise the base of it.  The lights were simply what was to hand, some old battery operated LED Christmas tree lights, blue tinted.

Location shoots were done at night, mainly around Rydal Hall in Ambleside (Lake District) whilst there for the gallery visit LINK.  The cube looked a bit bland by day, but in the pitch-black looked infinitely more sinister.  Long exposure shots were done near water to add to the strange look of the photographs.


I'm still working on ways to expand this project- the Cubes thing has been done to some extend actually by "Dr Who", but the basic concept seems alright; the next step is to to try and make a more elaborate illuminated shape...