Project Japan 11

Thursday 9 August. The show has got to be up and running by opening time tomorrow morning. The most time-consuming piece of work will be Heather’s ink drawings (part of her Pocket Remains series): 79 of them! They’ve all got to be mounted on foam board as well… The 1SSUE editions we’ve brought are easy to lay out and the other Pocket Remains displays should be pretty straightforward to set up. My video installation had more-or-less been assembled and tested—it just needed final positioning and tidying up (or so we thought).

We cleared out the gallery in the morning and had a fairly detailed and wholly productive tech meeting with Chiami and Hiroki from Tenjinyama: lighting configuration, power, exact sizes of this and that, what needs painting, shelving, interpretation boards, etc.

Once Heather and I actually got down to laying out the gallery the first thing to go was the plinth with the AV equipment on: this was swapped for a much smaller and neater wheeled trolley. This allowed us to reuse the plinth for another set of Pocket Remains and allowed us to hide the AV equipment behind the plinth. Nice. Only one problem: under conditions of extended play the videos don’t loop correctly and one of them that does play stutters badly.

After lunch we get down to the main task: mounting the ink drawings. We set up a booth outside and use spray mount to glue the drawings to the foam board. It starts raining and we have to abandon temporarily. By the time we’ve resumed and finished I’ve got a splitting headache from the glue despite doing it all outdoors.

By now it’s 5:00pm. Hiroki has painted the plinths and resets the lighting before he goes for the day. Heather and I start putting the drawings up using a laser cross-line levelling kit (courtesy of Tenjinyama) and a whole mess of Command Strips. It’s 8:30pm when we finish. We’re both knackered.

After dinner we sort out the rest. Relatively simple. I fix the video issue: once I convert them all to mp4s everything runs smoothly. By midnight we’re clearing all the day’s detritus out of the gallery and we sit back and look at our handiwork:


Modest and unassuming it may be, but nonetheless the gallery looks and sounds pretty cool (we think). However, there are a few minor things that need fixing:

  1. The way the lights form a heart shape over the ink drawings looks really cheesy. It’s a simple job to fix.
  2. As you can see in the top three photos, the wires from the AV equipment need tidying up and, of course, are a Health and Safety issue as is.
  3. There are no interpretation boards as yet: Chiami has done the English-Japanese translation but it all needs printing and mounting.

These will have to wait for the morning. A very long day, but a satisfying one. And my headache has gone…

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