Space & Light Exhibition
Working with AllofUs, we were invited by the V&A Museum to create an interactive installation for the Edward Gordon Craig: Space & Light exhibition. The aim of the project was to encourage visitors to develop a rich and embodied understanding of the innovative concepts around space, light, and movement developed by the great English modernist theatre practitioner.
Starting out with a 6x6 meter box we created two accessible entrances, one on each side. As visitors entered the box and adjusted to the darkness inside, a ‘radio play’ made up of archived recordings of Craig, as well as archived material recited by an actor, played through speakers.
Cutting diagonally through the box interior was a 3x2 meter calico stretched screen, with Craig’s set model for the play ‘St Matthew’s Passion’ on one side, and a bespoke 160cm long interactive theatre model-box on the other, complete with wooden blocks, figures, and light lenses. Visitors were invited to arrange these architectural props into a physical Craigian stage set composition, whilst a real-time 3D render would project their every move onto the calico screen. This impression of manipulating and designing a real-life set allowed visitors to interpret Craig and his pioneering design work in a playful, intuitive, and interactive way.
In order to achieve this, the approach we took was one anchored to Gordon Craig’s own unique method of theatre-making. Working alongside the curatorial team of the V&A’s theatre and performance galleries and the scenographer Simon Donger we made full use of the V&A’s internal knowledge of Gordon Craig as well as the institutions extensive archive to identify a set of key Craigian concepts, working methods, and formal devices all of which centered on his use of small geometric objects to build models his theatre sets.
By focusing in on the conceptual use and pleasure of building models, as central to Gordon Craig’s practice, we were able to develop a series of physical and digital prototypes. This enabled us to test and advance the installation from initial sketches to mockups, through to its finished conception.
The installation opened at the V&A in September 2010, where it remained until March 2011 before traveling to Gallery Jaroslav Fragner for the Prague Quadrennial in May/June 2011.
Having an interactive as the central focus of an exhibit was a new approach for the V&A. Its success allowed me, alongside senior curator Kate Bailey, to present a paper at the Electronic Visualisation and the Arts 2011 conference that used the Craig interactive as a case study to explore new modes of interactive engagement within the museum domain. An accompanying essay was included in the Conference Catalogue.
I was responsible for research, and the direction of interaction and physical design, and content of this project.
Installation in Use
View of Screen
View of Screen
View of Model
Early Sketch of Exhibtion
3D Visualisation of Objects