It’s Friday night – only three more evenings of projections before we pack up and go home. It has been a very busy and exciting week. With so many things to think and write about it has been very difficult for me to post a summary of each day’s events. As well as the ‘official’ documentation by Jorg and Josef there must have been hundreds of photos taken every night by members of the audience, some by people with very high quality photographic equipment, but I decided that for my blog I would use only photos I had taken myself. This has meant that I have no photos of the parts of the Tagtool Artists Jam Sessions where I have been drawing, or of our performance on Wednesday evening. In the Jam Sessions, as well as having great fun, I have found it extremely interesting to watch how different people develop their drawings and interact with each other. Here is one sequence of photos that I took when I was waiting my turn to draw. Maki and Iink are doing both drawing and animation together.
The public session as usual attracted crowds of families, the children all eager to draw or see their name written in light on the tower. Then the local group Upfaders set up their turntables next to the projection tent. They attracted a large and enthusiastic audience who clearly enjoyed the visual spectacle as well as the music. Many of the young people who had come specially to see Upfaders stayed on for the Artist Performance. Everyone enjoyed Tohyto’s quirky and whimsical line drawings. Unfortunately my photos, as usual, are rather dark but all the Artist’s Performances will appear soon on video and I will put a link to these in a later posting.
Ben, Matthias, Josef and I met with First Year Product Design students who were going to use the Tagtool in a project to draw on selected buildings in the city later in the week. Ben showed how GaiaNova had used the Tagtool in some of their company’s projects and Josef and Matthias outlined the work of O.M.A. International in developing the Tagtool. They also showed some footage of the latest instalment of their animation – which the students obviously enjoyed very much! The students then had an opportunity to try out the Tagtool for themselves, both drawing and animating using the gamepad. At the end of the day there was no shortage of volunteers wanting to participate in the evening project.
On Tuesday evening it was the turn of the Third Year Fine Art students to provide the artist session at the Multangular Tower. They had prepared their programme of short pieces working singly or in pairs, drawing and animating. The first two students drew only in white to accompany a live narration. The others used music soundtracks to accompany their drawing and animation. The finale was a free improvisation in brilliant colour to accompany a live performance on bassoon.
My good intentions of posting every day have not been realised! We have been so busy during the day and in the evening I have been too tired to do a posting. I will try to catch up tomorrow – meantime here is a quick account of what we have been doing. On Monday we spent the whole day at York St John’s University and went straight from there to the Wall of Light session in the evening. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent preparing for our special performance on Wednesday evening. Thursday morning was so bright and sunny that we decided to give ourselves some time off and walk through the city centre to the river, which was great, but then it was time to pack up everything and head for the Wall of Light again. Now posting photos will have to wait till tomorrow! There is no doubt that this event is a great success – every evening there have been big and enthusiastic audiences and in the public sessions the queues have been so long that each time we have had to ask people to come back later. So – it has all been very tiring , but most enjoyable!
Children from Hempland Primary School provided the first session of the evening. They had had an opportunity to try out the Tagtool at school as part of the Illuminating York Project and were obviously eager to show off to their parents their Tagtool drawing skills. Some children wrote their names or sent messages – ‘I love Mummy’ was very popular, while others drew people or their pets. Some of the littlest ones scribbled furiously, covering the tower in a kaleidescope of vibrant colours Marcus, Matthias and Martin were on hand to animate their drawings. When they saw their work spinning round, and zooming out and in on the surface of the tower this caused a great deal of excitement.
Children who were not drawing jumped and ran towards the base of the tower, chasing the moving drawings and trying to cover themselves in the coloured light. Soon there was a long queue of families waiting for the Public Session to begin.
It looks like this is becoming one of the ‘must do ‘ half-term activities for local children and, while some parents managed to do a little drawing under the guise of ‘helping’, I discovered only this one adult drawing amongst the large number of photos I took during the evening.Many of the families with young children had gone home by the time the Artists’ Jam Session started, but they were replaced by a new, mainly adult audience. I took these photos before I joined in the session. Back at the house Josef prepared something for us to eat while Jorg, Matthias and Marcus reviewed the results of the evening’s time lapse photography. It was the end of another long, but successful day!
Luca’s stunning calligraphy opened the evening’s performance and a big audience had gathered to watch. Some keen photographers arrived early, secured front row positions and set up their tripods while others were holding up their mobile phones and cameras to capture the spectacle. Jorg was videoing and taking photographs for us and the time lapse camera was installed in the tower. I recognised some of the faces in the crowd from the previous evening and, sure enough, when the Open Session was announced a large queue gathered immediately, mostly families including some with very young children, all eager to try the Tagtool. Ben controlled the queue with his big clock, strictly five minutes of drawing each! Everyone was very excited and as the photos show, the children, and their parents, were loving every minute of it – so much so that the artists’ jam session started late. It was all very hectic! By this time we were all quite tired and t was a great treat to return home to find a lovely hot dinner cooked for us all – a big thank you Mandy!
Yesterday people started to gather round our tent early, while it was still light and by the time that the performance began there was a big audience to see the first show.
Because I went with Ben to the reception at the Art Gallery I wasn’t able to take any photos of Luca’s calligraphy that opened the evening’s events, but there was a time lapse camera installed in the tower so I was able to watch a speeded up version at home later. It seemed like every other person in the audience was taking pictures and videos with a camera or mobile phone. When I wasn’t drawing during the artists’ jam session I took a lot of photos too, both of the tower and the audience. Here are a few.
Ben is keeping a special Wall of Light blog and a group photo album. You can find it here – www.wall-of-light.com.
The evening ended with a free session for the audience. It wasn’t difficult to persuade people to ‘have a go’ and soon there was a big queue of people of all ages eagerly waiting to have their opportunity to draw.
As you can see, the Tagtool found a lot of new friends!
Last night was Press night. We arrived early to get everything set up and ready for the arrival of the official photographers.An outdoor broadcast unit from BBC Look North parked up alongside our tent and by the time it was dark they were joined by several other groups of photographers, cameramen and interviewers all wanting to film, take photos and find out about the Tagtool. This photo shows Jörg Steffke who is documenting the whole of the Wall of Light projections for O.M.A. International.Everyone was captivated by Luca’s beautiful (and apparently effortless) calligraphy!The photo above shows the introductory drawing for the festival press night that he created with Maki and Iink. At times there were so many people gathered round them that they could hardly see the Multangular Tower and what they were drawing.
Once the press people had gone we did some more drawing together, just for fun and some of the people who had come to find out what was happening also ‘had a go’.
I think that the expressions on the faces of these three lads conveys much better than words what fun it is to draw with the Tagtool!
We arrived in York yesterday afternoon and were met at the station by Ben from GaiaNova (the London based events company who are providing the outdoor projection equipment for the Wall of Light performances ) and Josef from O.M.A. International (the Austrian developers of the Tagtool). We went straight to the Museum Gardens where the projector tower, looking like a very impressive oversized black bird hide, and a nice awning to protect us, the Tagtools and the rest of the equipment from the weather, were already in position. By the time it was dark all the equipment was connected up and we were ready to test it out.
Wow!! The super bright projector picked out every detail of the beautiful Roman brickwork of the Multangular Tower, making it an ideal canvas for Tagtooling. I began to draw with Maki.
This was our first equipment test – the colours were so bright and the scale of the projection so large! It was really exciting and, despite the rain, I felt I could go on drawing all night! We did another drawing together and everyone took lots of photos.
Then Luca Barcellona arrived and I handed my pen to him. (It is Luca’s beautiful calligraphy in the photo at the head of this post.)
There will be another opportunity to test the equipment this evening and I will try to do a posting every day during the festival. I will also make a big online photo album to document this event as well.
This is a photo of our new Tagtool-in-a-box. It is a family effort – Dima made the Tagtool and I designed and made the box!
This shows the box packed up and ready to put the lid on, with the gamepad, plugs and all the cables needed to connect it to the projector inside. The Tagtool section has slots on either side so that it can be positioned for right or left handed use and the drawing surface can also be lifted out and angled for drawing.
Now that I usually use my new Wacom drawing tablet and wide-screen laptop with my Tagtool Mini, Dima’s original idea was to use my old Intuos and laptop to make a D.I.Y.Cintiq which he would then build into a Tagtool all in one so that we could use the two together in some collaborative drawing sessions. Although I was really interested in the idea of having a D.I.Y. Cintiq to play with I was less happy about having it embedded in a Tagtool all in one (Dima is right handed but I draw with my left hand so would have to draw with my arms crossed if I wanted to use it!).
The initial stages of the ‘build’ could more accurately be described as ‘destruction’. First Dima took to pieces (literally) the laptop, then it was the turn of my old Wacom to have all its innards removed. As I have no technical know-how this looked all very alarming and I couldn’t imagine how the bits and pieces could possibly be put together again, let alone work! I took lots of photos of the various stages and have put them in an album so that anyone who is interested can view the whole process step by step.
Dima made a test of Tagtool drawing through the laptop screen by laying it over our new Intuos and as the picture below shows, this worked fine.
However, when he put the screen over the ‘sandwich’ of the innards of the old Wacom and laptop, some parts of the drawing area didn’t work so well. Rather than take everything to pieces again Dima decided to abandon the D.I.Y.Cintiq idea for this build. As by this time he had cut up the outside of the Wacom to make the box for the Tagtool, he put a piece of thin perspex over the drawing area of the Wacom instead. (This has been a great success, as the perspex gives a much enhanced sensitivity to the pressure of the pen – which I find really useful for drawing.)
I was absolutely delighted when the old Wacom, laptop, Tagtool and gamepad worked first time when Dima finally put them together. All that unscrewing and undoing of wires, pulling things apart, sawing bits off, repositioning and joining up had been a success!