Minimum Cube

Maximum Cube
A still image from Maximum Cube, a digital video installation by Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer in the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
Caption

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Jan – Mar 2000

Website: www.tamsinwilliams.com/minimumcube

Minimum Cube is my first website. It was researched and produced during and after my artist residency at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill from February to March 2000. I was stationed with my computer outside a digital installation titled Maximum Cube by Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer. Initially, it is best to view and interact with the website with little information, you can read about my experiences on the website itself.

Report written during the residency

Raising questions about was is an artist residency. Making a work in a space responding to Maximum Cube, which is a response to an architectural space, the pavilion. This carries on the creative process into creating another space, a website. One of the significant characteristics of the pavilion is that it is a ‘people’s palace’, where people spend time in a communal environment. I am becoming a part of that. A significant part of my job is to talk to people and the residency becomes all about communication. A point of contact where people can discuss contemporary art, technology or digital art.

My cube becomes a place to record these thoughts etc. by creating another space somewhere else enabling the experience to extend further into the world.

People do not understand what Maximum Cube is, they are confused by its lack of definition. It is a scary black curtain that suggests a fairground attraction. Therefore this can be used to encourage them to experience it with an open mind. Then they are not disappointed by any preconceived ideas or expectations. I start to feel responsible for people entering the cube that they shouldn’t leave without having gained some understanding. But I know as well that the piece is not about an intellectual understanding but a sensory experience. Anna and Leon are setting up environments for us to stumble across, they come from a background of making Public Art where there are no visitors, only passer-bys. Its important to allow time for people to experience, but they quickly want an explanation to satisfy their minds.

Minimum Cube website

I don’t wish my website to be a representation, nor an information point but a creative work in itself, an examination of virtual space. It intends to call upon the users imagination to build an imagery cube to fit the responses made by people who visited the ‘real’ space ie Maximum Cube. This residency continues the creative process from a finished work of art (Maximum Cube) into a dialogue between the public and an artist, from which evolves a new work. This new work is a link from the Maximum Cube which uses both the virtual and the actual into a website that is purely virtual. It plays upon ideas of discovery, something you come across on the web and are unsure about what it is.

By encouraging people to enter Maximum Cube with an open mind they begin to deconstruct these restrictive boundaries, which frees the mind for observing their physical responses and the shifts of perception between the real and the virtual.

The De La Warr Pavilion has a constant flow of people moving through the building, especially on Sundays with the Antique and craft fairs downstairs.

I want to use this movement through the architecture in the website. Whilst I am stationed outside the cube I have watched people streaming through the cube particularly at lunchtimes. My contact with these people varies, sometimes I’ll spend time with a child on Photoshop, other times these contacts are brief, with people anxious to get coffee or their lunch. I may record their voice before they hurry away!

I’d like to reflect this on the website with a flow of people’s words both spoken and as text, moving up and down the stairs along the lines of Mendlesohn’s geometric and modernist shapes. Perhaps along the dividing line of the handrail between the sea and sky.

A form of navigation could be the architect’s map of the first floor, indicating your whereabouts in the building by highlighting the room you are in.

Maximum Cube

Comments

Visitors would approach the entrance, look unsure and turn to ask me “What is it?” I encouraged them to go and look and we could discuss it afterwards. This retrospective analysis enabled us all to forget about defining the work as ‘art’ and instead discuss it as a physical experience. This opened up a forum where people were keen to share their perceptions of the space and relating that to other similar experiences they have encountered before. Here are a few examples:

“…it was exactly like the feeling of an earthquake where the floor seems to drop away and leaves you suspended in the air…”

He had direct experience of an earthquake and went on to talk about being in a plane and the only thing that makes you realise you’re moving is the changing scenery, if you couldn’t see that you may not think you were moving at all.

A lady came out with a very terrified grin on her face…

“ I just froze I couldn’t go through…”

She went on to explain about an incident on a boat where she’d had a similar sensation and that memory came flooding back.

One man commented:

“ …it reminds me of a cave in Tenerife which had water, still like glass at the bottom, it wasn’t until you dropped a stone you realised it was water, seeing the ripples. Until then you thought you were standing over a void.”

I gave a number of organised group talks which included a small demonstration workshop of recording sounds in SoundEdit, and group discussions about virtual reality and how we experience Maximum Cube. These were to Bexhill College, Hastings College of Art and Technology, Saxon Mount School and Chailey Heritage.

Commissioned by Lighthouse during Event Coast
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