In these pieces I have rotated the orientation of the blocks and screen/paper. In the previous arrangements the blocks are at right angles to the screen/paper, and I have been making prints with the shadows at 45°. This effectively produces a “sciagraphic” image, where an orthographic plan or elevation includes the shadows of the objects, demonstrating their third dimension. I am interested in producing imagery which is more readily interpreted as “axonometric”, which most typically rotates the plan by 45° or 30°/60° and then extrudes up the object’s height, parallel to the paper. Axonometric drawing can either be constructed as aerial viewpoints, or “worm’s eye”, that is, from below the ground/picture plane surface. It is difficult to know which way up to read these acrylic block shadow drawings – the sharper the shadows the more it confirm to the from above view, but when they become blurred (due to cloud cover or long exposure and the shadows moving) they tend to read as worm’s eye.
Axonometric Portrait 0
The first of these 56x76cm prints was made on the 27 October, without filming the process of arrangement. The print needed to be rotated frequently during the exposure to ensure the shadows remained in the same place on the paper.
I particularly enjoy the simplicity of this arrangement, as well as the dark crosses that appear at the bases of each of the small solid blocks within the bottom cubes.
A single strip of acrylic joins the two clusters of cubes, establishing the “ground” plane on which they both sit.
Axonometric Portrait 1
This arrangement starts with the placement of a single 100mm cube at 45º to the screen. A second cube is added, and then pulled away by approximately 50mm – a 50mm cube is then used to more precisely set this spacing and is left in place. I particularly enjoyed the performative nature of this initial action when reviewing it on the back-projection footage. In the takedown clip below a similar (but reversed) action occurs as the last two cubes are removed – the penultimate cube is pushed back to meet the last cube before being removed.
In the first attempt to make a cyanotype print from this arrangement clouds were beginning to form in the sky. I almost didn’t attempt this exposure, but decided to risk it, extending the exposure time, with repeated rotation of the print to keep the shadows in the same place during the exposure. I particularly enjoy the ghostly effect of the final print. For the second print the sun was much stronger, providing nice sharp shadows.
A scratch on the perspex sheet marks the final cyanotype prints.
Footage from one of the few days of continuous sunshine while filming this arrangement.
Axonometric Portrait 2
The process of setting up the arrangement starts the same as the previous one, with the positioning of a single 100mm cube bottom centre, then joined by a second which is pulled away and spaced with a 50mm cube. However, in this case the smaller cube is not left in place but used to position a second and then third larger cube, to form a grid of four cubes, spaced apart by half their own width. Extra cubes and hollow blocks are placed within and on top of these four original cubes.
A single day of shadows.
Taking down the arrangement.
I only made one cyanotype print of this configuration as I was not particularly happy with the balance of the image – the use of the solid acrylic blocks on top of the hollow cubes makes the resulting shadow drawing a little top-heavy. This print was also not particularly successful as the cubes moved during the exposure, and then I left it in the washing water for too long, losing some of the blue and leaving the darker “bubbles” where parts of the print was out of the water.