Tuesdays session with Second life caused a few ideas to be voiced directly afterwards. We decided to meet early the next day to pitch our thoughts and attempt to come up with something more concrete.
Present at meeting yesterday:
The Queen Elizabeth hospital - Selly Oak site
During 2010-2013 all Selly Oak hospital services will move to the new QE hospital site. This leaves a two week period where several decommissioned buildings will be available for artistic and performance response.
One of the building is an old water tower and holds some nice architectural interest.
Old A+E entrance to the hospital - UHB historical gallery
The Selly Oak site itself is only available from June next year, meaning any work that could potentially be produced there would have to be realised graphically for now.
- Is it worth looking at a physical site if realistically there was no way of presenting work there in our time frame (10 weeks)?
- Would it be a good idea to represent an idea in a virtual environment with the intention of moving a work to the physical site when possible?
- Should we just take inspiration from the architecture/culture to produce work in a different environment?
Collectively as a group we are keen to represent the external water tower in a virtual environment such as Second life. Along with this we want the internal space to be bespoke to whatever function we wish. This may mean we scale the tower to some degree to accommodate such functions.
Purpose before process
We feel its important to pay respect to the history of the hospital and draw something contextually from its past. A little research showed that the hospital played a major part receiving air raid casualties during world war 2, and regularly doubled its intended intake. A little more research suggested some of the solihull hospital units were formally workhouses for the homeless, sick, and aged. This of course added another dimension to what we could potential work with.
I initially discussed ideas of pulling together audio and visual media to suggest a feeling of a war time hospital scene. The intensity and representation of that time could be described more in an audio context then simply the visual scenes that lay in the internal space. Iona added that a morphing of this idea with a workhouse scene could work well. Between us we decided there was no reason why we couldn't use sound and visual cues to describe both spaces. A sewing machine for example, has a similar sound quality to a machine gun, the look of a hospital bed a comparison to a dormitory bed. These comparisons could be explored much further to blur the borders between the two spaces, to imply an ambiguity.
How can we make the this more interesting? Several ideas of embedded video and even narrative were discussed but personally i think its important we don't make the project feel like a heritage build or too informative. Our intention is to use new technologies to explore the difficulty and holistic responses of the space and to draw comparisons between the two different settings.
Jovi put forward that a teleport system may be a good way of moving between the different spaces with the original tower condition as a starting state. From here you could portal to the respective scenes. Nice idea! The conversation then moved onto creating 3 different towers. I thought this would be a little inefficient and would mean you would see 3 towers as you entered the external scene.
Instead i put forward the following idea..
Here the three floors of the water-tower provide the teleport points for each scene. Using proximity thresholds it may also be possible to allow certain sounds to bleed between floors aiding the morphing nature.
The next step
Audio research - whats possible in Second life (compromises?) - ambient/placement
The build - How accurate can we represent the tower
Mapping - external and internal proportions
Textures - Whats possible to produce and implement on second life. Building textures/fabric/lighting
Contextual research - relevant audio and visual cues in context with that period including potential items we can use from 'X-street' (online store for items)
Second life architecture - Permissions, buying land if needed, teleport architecture, required land size/prim allocation, embedding media
Once completed we can move onto design stages and start to put together exactly what we want to get out of the internal spaces in the building.
Lots of ifs and buts to be ironed out and put forward before we commit pen to paper