Following on from the success of the UAL UCAS project
, the London College of Fashion
approached us to create an interactive installation for their MA_STERS 2010 show at The Mall Galleries. The initial brief was to create a touchscreen interactive to allow visitors to browse through the individual student portfolios. However, we felt the installation needed to be more expressive and we wanted to go beyond just using a simple touchscreen, whilst remaining within the physical and financial limitations of the brief.
Our aim was to give visitors an immediate overview of the entire body of work from the MA programme, thus creating a ‘wow’ at first sight with the volume and quality of the work itself. We turned to a low-tech, accessible consumer technology for the solution – digital picture frames. After some initial research we found a product that was affordable, with decent resolution and without any cheesey page turn transitions. We removed its outer casing and plastic frame, leaving just the motherboard, SD card and the raw screen with its metal surround.
After drawing up numerous designs and layouts to work within the 7x8x4m gallery space, looking at various hanging ceiling ‘chandelier’ configurations, we settled on a curved hanging ‘sculptural’ wall. Using 100 of the stripped down digital picture frames, we combined them with 250 brushed stainless steel plates, cut to the same size. Each of the 150 students, chose a ‘hero’ image from their portfolio, which were put into a random slideshow to run across the picture frames. We engraved the LCF logo and star icon onto a selection of the hanging steel panels, with, in some cases, the star logo bleeding across a number of frames and onto the digital picture frames. The screens and metal plates were hung in a curved grid pattern leading the visitor in from the entrance, to the touchscreen interactives themselves.
Three 42” touchscreens were built into the curved wall, running bespoke software which allowed the visitors to search the students work by name, course or hero image. Once a portfolio was selected, they could then swipe through full screen images and video content and leave comments on the work.