Knowing Me, Knowing You
February 2016 - Cheriton Light Festival, Cheriton
Phase 01: Winter Illuminations
Watts Gallery, Surrey
To compliment the installation of a series of kaleidoscopic sculptures by collaborators Terry Perk and Julian Rowe, I was commissioned to facilitate a workshop during the launch event which explored kaleidoscopic photography. To do this, I designed a miniature kaleidoscope that could be easily assembled by participants during the workshop and then used to take photographs with smartphone cameras. Each one is constructed from a series of simple pieces that simply fold together and hold in shape with double-sided tape, packaged into envelope-kits that could be distributed throughout the event.
Phase 02: Knowing Me, Knowing You
Cheriton Light Festival, Cheriton
Knowing Me, Knowing You is a development of the previous workshop, commissioned by Strange Cargo for the 2016 Cheriton Light Festival. Using the initial net of the miniature kaleidoscope as a starting point, an immersive experience was devised that allowed kaleidoscopic qualities to operate at a number of different levels.
The first level of immersion was the table. As both a working surface for the event and a functioning kaleidoscope, the net was reproduced to a larger scale with sheets of continuous mirror glass inlaid to be worked upon. These reflected an image of the immediate architecture and the participants of the workshop back at the viewer.
A set of three viewing scopes became the second layer of immersion, strategically placed around the space to allow visitors to change role from participant to spectator, and vice versa. Through the use of a camera and projector, these kaleidoscopes also became tools to produce a live image of the event.
The third layer of immersion was found in the personal attachment generated by constructing your own kaleidoscope; a personal device to view the workshop and more generally, the entire Light Festival, that you personally constructed.
Each scale operates symbiotically and enlarges the effect that a kaleidoscope has on a viewer, creating a chain of reflections and projections that continuously feed into each other.
A Visual Treat of Geometry and Light
It was important to generate a programme that operated both as a singular event and as a component within the larger context of the festival. Firstly, in conjunction with Strange Cargo, a series of kaleidoscope workshops were devised for a number of schools based in Cheriton, which brought the kaleidoscope kits to a wider group of young adults and children but also helped to generate a level of engagement with the festival before it had begun. And then secondly, visitors were encouraged to photograph the festival through their kaleidoscopes and upload their images (#cheritonlights) to social media, which then allowed them to be projected onto live screens around Cheriton as part of the festival.
The kaleidoscopes became tools that allowed viewers to engage with the other installations more intimately - there was the initial shared experience of viewing each work in the festival, but then there was the more personal experience with the kaleidoscope as each installation was experienced again from a unique and more detailed perspective, and then for a third time when they were photographed.