Archives for posts with tag: Strutt’s North Mill Belper

DRO Parcel

Derbyshire Record Office

A couple of weeks ago I made my first visit to the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock for my New Opportunities Award (NOA) project. The NOA is for a collaborative project with Strutt’s North Mill Belper to make a series of moving image works that respond to the early history of the site, that will be installed in the museum for Easter 2015.

This intriguing parcel above was part of a number of items described in the online catalogue as ‘Watches, trinkets and other items, belonging to deceased lunatics with no known next-of-kin. Also a snuff box presented to Belper Union by Jack Strutt esq.’.

It proved to be a sad little collection of poor broken pocket watches and rings, which were all individually wrapped and stored in the snuff box.

The objects are from the Belper Union Workhouse, now the Babington Hospital, and in 1946 they were handed to the local authority when the building was transfered to ‘the ministry of Health under the National Health Service Act 1946’.

I’m looking for materials that capture elements of the day to day working lives of the people who were employed by the Strutts and this is clearly at a bit of a tangent to the project, but there is so little material available that speaks of the lives of those people, that I wanted to look at it, even if I can’t use it.

DRO Watch

DRO Ring

Thank you to the Derbyshire Record Office for permission to publish these images. The document reference number for all items is D19/CW/12/16.

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Pillar to Post (and back again)

We were back at Strutt’s North Mill Belper again last week (Thursday 15 May) for a Museums at Night event. This time animation was projected onto 10 of the monumental mill-stone grit piers in the mill’s basement.

The new animation was stripped back to blocks of light and colour with short sequences that responded to the blocky rectangular geometry of the pillars. The animation playback was synched to an audio track using Isadora software. So unlike the last light and sound show – where we had to manual synch the separate laptops – for Pillar to Post the installation’s five laptops and projectors responded to the audio independently of any input from the team (once it had been setup to go).

Visitors were able to walk between the pillars affecting the animation by breaking the projection light beam and changing the animation sequences by adding their own audio in the form of shouting, clapping and stamping.

From Pillar to Post (and back again), animation by Stuart Poynton, Shane Mellor and Tim Shore with sound by Marc Bosward.

Strutt’s North Mill Belper

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Rebirth: light and sound show at Strutt’s North Mill Belper

So the event on Saturday 29 March went well. Sarah (mill manager) and Ruth (engagement officer) reckoned we had about 120 visitors for the show.

While Stuart set up the laptops I measured and cut out film to stick to the windowpanes of the six windows, each window had six panes, so we had to measure, cut and stick 36 sheets. Meanwhile Stuart discovered that the laptops went to sleep after five minutes and we didn’t have administrator rights to cancel the sleep mode.

Still it all worked well. We staggered the startup of each laptop by the time it physically took to get each one going. So a relaxed synchronisation and a kind off delayed playback coupled with running or crawling (in my case) to each laptop to tap its trackpad to ward off sleep. Not live but certainly performative animation happened behind the scenes and largely out of view of the audience.

We are reworking the animation and sequencing for the North Mill’s ‘Museums at Night’ event on May 15. We will project the animation onto eight of the 26 monumental stone piers – all that is left of Jedediah Strutt’s first mill (1786) that burnt down in 1803 – that form the foundation of the ‘new’ mill built in 1804.

More information about Culture24’s national Museums at Night festival here and Strutt’s North Mill Belper

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Strutt’s North Mill Belper

We want to reference some of the elemental forces that helped shape the mill including fire, water and iron. Strutt’s North Mill was built in 1804 and is one of the oldest surviving examples of an industrialised, iron framed ‘fire proof’ building. The first mill burnt down.

I’ve used mono prints made during the printing of the first card template (below). I was thinking of iron being cast and the firey furnace and also some of the fantastic footage used in ‘The Big Melt – How Steel Made Us Hard‘ (Martin Wallace and Jarvis Cocker).

This will form part of a larger work made with Stuart Poynton and Marc Bosward (sound). It will be projected onto the windows of Strutt’s North Mill Belper this weekend (7pm on Saturday 29 March).

Strutt’s North Mill Belper

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More animation for Strutt’s North Mill Belper

I’m making very short animation sequences using a convoluted, complex (relatively) slow process.

Method
The gif (top) is the result of drawing the animation in Illustrator, then laser cutting the individual frames from corrugated card, followed by relief printing the frame matrix with black ink onto 40gsm newsprint. When the ink is dry the sheet is cut into individual frames that are then scanned and photoshoped before assembly and timing in AfterEffects.

The process needs refining. I like the finished result but it’s a bit too ordered or regular. I was hoping for more of the unexpected and that the various format changes and translations would add a greater range of ‘mistakes’ or random events into the workflow.

As I make these sequences I’m thinking about slow animation that is beyond the control of the animator and that through an engagement with a range of machine processes (both analogue and digital) I can attempt to foreground both animation’s craft legacy and its constructed nature. A project to make animation visible again.

Maybe animation is sited in the frame after all and not in the gap between frames?

My sequences will form part of a larger work made with Stuart Poynton and Marc Bosward (sound). It will be projected onto the windows of Strutt’s North Mill Belper this weekend (7pm on Saturday 29 March).

Strutt’s North Mill Belper

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Sample images and treatments for ‘Rebirth’ a light and sound projection made with Stuart Poynton and Marc Bosward. A looped animation made from a patchwork of short animation sequences will be projected onto the windows of the first floor and basement of Strutt’s North Mill Belper as part of the celebrations to mark the museum’s Summer Opening event.

The animation will be projected from inside the museum onto six windows that will be covered with a translucent film. A lot of animation to make and stitch together before the event on Saturday 29 March 2014 (7pm).

Strutt’s North Mill Belper

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Installing ‘Full Employment in a Free Society (1944)’ on last Sunday afternoon in the basement of Strutt’s North Mill Belper.

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The Belper Art Trail 2013 is on from Monday 8 to Sunday 21 July at venues across Belper and more information about the trail and a trail guide, which lists the 17 artists and the venues for their work, is available from Corridor Arts.

Andrew Martyn Sugars (Corridor Arts) who has curated the trail and Sarah Skinner, the Mill manager, were interviewed in last week’s Belper News (3/7/13) about the Art Trail and my imminent arrival! In the article Sarah said, ‘The Strutt Mill complex harnessed the power of the Derwent to produce cotton thread that wound its way across the world so Tim Shore’s work is really appropriate here, referencing as it does weaving, workforce and mechanisation as well as commenting on the austere times we live in today.’

Here’s a link to Strutt’s North Mill Belper and the Belper News article.