01 November 2011

57 Body Borders: Anything Can Break by Pinaree Sanpitak

We are designers, surely not artists.
Compare to them (artists), what we do are closer to the utility side of things. However, we love art. We love the way art blows our minds and brings us to the territory where we cannot completely reason with our logic - it makes our hearts beating fast, our brains going dizzy....

Recently we have a chance to be closer to this mind-blowing territory we like. Thanks to Pinaree Sanpitak, one of the most prominent contemporary Thai artists who gave us a chance to collaborate with her on one of her trilogy exhibition, Body Borders: Anything Can Break at The Art Center, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. (She actually held her exhibition as 3 parts in 3 venues at the same time last August. The other two were at 100Tonson Gallery and H Gallery. You can say that not so many artists could achieve such a thing here in Thailand).

(photo by Aroon Permpoonsopol)

In this exhibition, we were basically installation display consultant for Pinaree. She had this idea to fill the whole gallery's ceiling with thousands of Origami Flying Cubes mixing with her glass Breast Clouds. Also the whole space would play music interacting with the movement of people. We just helped to realize the physical parts of the installation. It was great fun and super interesting.

The first day we met with the team who were, apart from Pinaree herself, the other two consultants of sound and interactive system. (It was just the beginning because at the end of the installation we have learned that there were many other collaborators with different systems: music, lighting, fiber optic, installation and so on). This is what she showed us on the first day: Her extremely beautiful Murano Breast Cups and her latest Breast Clouds, both are very nice and cute.

Talking to her, we had this image of the space in her painting - a bit blurry and weightless - flipping from the wall on to the ceiling.

78 X 98 1/2 IN.)

We went back to the office and tried to mock up an installation technique. Basically we used a very common metal grid unit which street venders used to set up their stalls as a main structure to hang the Breast Clouds and the Origami Cubes - very simple, very cheap and light.

Then we got Kris Manopimok, our super lighting designer to involve. After checking the venue, he recommended that we should also have a light source coming out from some opaque Breast Clouds.

The only solution would be fiber optic light because it would not create heat and can be lit in a very small spot

Beyond the floating objects on the ceiling, actually there were many layers of technical elements superimposing on each other - the interactive sensors, amplifiers, fiber optic lighting system, the existing light tracks, the metal grid units hanging the cubes and the clouds... They worked together smoothly. Here is the ceiling plan:

The process of installation was pretty complicated too. Thousands of Origami Flying Cubes were made in advance, but they needed to be arranged and hung. So the contractor made several roles of long structure where more than a hundred units of metal grids could be placed, and then the cubes were hung --- the space looked like a 'farm' growing some birds (since the cubes could slightly move).

After the interactive and sound systems were installed, the units of the metal grid was lifted up and hung with the ceiling structure one by one.

Sometimes when there was something improperly installed, the assistants had to 'dive' into the sea of thousands Flying Cubes using a tool made out of some sticks to make a room... You can see how deep it was -_-".

Kris came back after everything is almost done for the last lighting set up.

This is the final...Thousands Origami Flying Cubes floating in the space with the Clouds. The cubes were slightly moving... as if they were alive... their little glittering paper surface greeting with the light gently.

The sound interactive installation was very nice. Moving around the space as drawn by the slightly moving cubes and clouds, every few meters, the music changed.. with many people in the space at the same time, the music was randomly mixed... the whole space became a forest of sounds, clouds and cubes... very dreamy... I think we have reached the image we had in mind from the beginning: to make her painting into physical space.

At the same time, another exhibition of the other twos, was on this flying cubes made out of rattan.

The exhibition at H Gallery, you could sit casually on the Flying Cubes!

Along the process of working on this installation, we have learned at lot about art, about Pinaree.. It was great fun. Thanks to Pinaree and everybody involved, you have made our hearts beating fast again. Body Borders: Anything Can Break is flying to Sydney next June. Looking forward to.

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