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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Installation as a multi-sensory experience

A big part of my installation process today was deeply rooted in domestic skills. I had to iron and starch each piece of linen before installing it as well as spot cleaning several little dirty marks that had developed since the linens had travelled from my home to the studio in less than ideal conditions. .

There were some interesting memories triggered amongst my fellow students, by the smell of the Fabulon ironing aid I was using to starch and smooth the cloths. The centre for smell in the brain is closely linked with the centre for memory, so one sense easily triggers the other.

I honestly found finalising this installation quite devastating in its personal impact, having made each of the components separately, and imagined how they might work together, this was the first time I actually saw them in relationship to one another.

In addition to the bed installation, I installed the Trigger Warning Tea Cloth to the left of the bed installation in a similar way as I did in the tutorial. I hung my three embossed handprints on the wall to the right of the bed. I decided that having the Trigger Warning Tea Cloth on the left (entrance) side of the body of work and lined up with my didactic could stand in place of an artist statement, so I simply used the name of the project: "In/visible: feminine/ist responses to domestic violence" on my didactic. This allows the viewer to take what they can from the work without being further confronted by an artist statement that would inevitable spell out further aspects of violence against women and children in the home.

Next came lighting: I had booked a couple of video lights from the Art School Loans store and done some trial last week, but the whole installation wasn't ready at that time. Installing for assessment with four or us using the space also led to lots of furniture rearranging and some inevitable compromises about location of work. Nevertheless, I decided to see what lighting would add to the presentation.

I'm using two video lights on tripods some distance from the wall. They are located across the room and at the outer limits of my three works, angled slightly inward. I didn't choose the brightest setting, but a warm intermediate setting which is still quite strong. The plan is to turn off the main fluorescent room lights and turn these lights on instead.

Here's what I think they add to the work:

  • They isolate the work visually from the surrounding installations which are reasonably close to mine and potentially distracting

  • They provide a strong enough light on my embossed prints to maximise the impact of the subtle embossing

  • On the other side of the installation, the light on the Trigger Warning Tea Cloth provide similar lighting conditions to the ones I used in my Group Tutorial. They highlight the drama of the work and strengthen its place as an object in the gallery, rather than domestic space.This is particularly relevant given the addition of the bed to the body of work.

  • They activate the shadows which are a strong part of the effect of the whitework borders on both the Tea Cloth and the bed installation.

  • They emphasise the starkness of the all white installation and add a relevant sense of drama to the collection of works.

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